How much do you know about HPV?

Before the pharmaceutical company Merck started raising awareness about the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV and its link with the cervical cancer through their commercials, very few people knew about HPV and the fact that it causes cervical cancer. It has been estimated that almost 80percent of women including both the category of women having monogamous and polygamous relationships gets affected by this virus at some point of their lives and surprisingly most of them learn about HPV only after it affects them.

Important facts about HPV

  • How you can get HPV?

You can get HPV through any kind of sexual contact, including even oral sex. Although using condoms can decrease the chance of contracting this virus by almost 70 percent, but any unprotected genital contact can easily increase the risk of getting this virus. As majority of people having HPV usually shows no symptoms at all so it is generally passed between sexual partners unknowingly and unintentionally.

  • Strains of HPV causing cervical cancer

There are more than a hundred different kinds of HPV among which a few can cause cervical cancer. People recover from some common cases of HPV without any treatment and the vaccine called Gardasil can protect you from types 16, 18, 6 and 11which mainly causes cervical cancer and genital warts diseases.

  • How to protect yourself from both HPV and cervical cancer ?

If you are already not infected by the strains of HPV causing cervical cancer then both the vaccine Gardasil and condoms during sexual intercourse can protect you from HPV as well as cervical cancer. However, there are many other risk factors that can get you infected with HPV which includes smoking that slowly weakens the immunity system, having many sexual partners, indulging in sexual activities from an early age, having sexual intercourse with uncircumcised males, having sex with HIV or Chlamydia infected person or having a family history of people diagnosed with cervical cancer.


  • How effective is the HPV vaccine Gardasil in protecting you from getting HPV?

The HPV vaccine called Gardasil got its approbation from FDA and it can be used by girls aged 9 to 26. It is generally recommended to get vaccinated for HPV before becoming sexually active as this virus can be contracted through a single sexual contact. So, the longer you wait for getting vaccinated, the more it increases your chances of having HPV. The vaccine usually includes three separate shots given over a period of six months and it costs $360 excluding the doctor’s visiting fees. However, the vaccine can also have side-effects although they occur in very rare cases. The side-effects may include mild fever, dizziness, nausea or pain and a little swelling in the injected area.

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