Human Paplilomavirus Deserves More Attention

The most common sexually transmitted disease is human paplilomavirus, or HPV. In fact, researchers believe that most people will have this disease at sometime in their lives. Yet, many women have never even heard of the disease.

Young adults are the highest risk group for HPV, primarily because they tend to be the most sexually active population. At the same time, they fail to realize that they can actually use a vaccine to help prevent them from contracting HPV. Rather, they wait until they have been diagnosed with the disease before they begin trying to learn more about it.

The reason for the lack of public knowledge about this disease is twofold. First, it tends to receive less attention than other sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes and HIV/AIDS. Secondly, the company that markets the vaccine against HPV focuses more on cervical cancer prevention rather than HPV prevention.

"Even if a young woman has one type of high-risk HPV, there's nothing to say that she cannot be infected with the other three." - Dr. Tina Tan, infectious disease specialist at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Despite the lack of attention HPV receives and the fact that it is a common disease, that doesn’t mean it is not a problem. In fact, high risk strains of HPV can lead to cervical cancer, as well as genital warts and even infertility in women.

Men generally are not adversely affected by HPV. Rather, they carry the disease and spread it to their sexual partners without even realizing it. In addition, those men that know they have HPV sometimes mistakenly believe condoms will prevent the spread of the disease. Unfortunately, research has demonstrated that condoms are not 100% effective against HPV.

Due to the fact that men can carry HPV without knowing it combined with the fact that condoms are not 100% effective against preventing it, the more sexual partners a woman has, the more likely she is to contract HPV. Of course, all it takes it one partner to catch the disease.

Even women that have already contracted HPV can benefit from the vaccination. Since there are several different types of HPV, the vaccination can prevent contracting the worse forms of the disease. In order to prevent the spread of this disease, Federal officials are no recommending that girls receive the HPV vaccination as young as the age of nine.

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