It can be difficult to accept a medical diagnosis, and it can be more challenging if the diagnosis involves HPV, known as the human papillomavirus. For the most part, people still treat it as though it were taboo, choosing instead to suffer silently while keeping it hidden.
Millions of Americans are affected by HPV, which is now the most common STD in the country. Despite the fact that vaccination is currently available, millions of unvaccinated Americans contract the disease. Each year, over 14 million people contract it. HPV is so widespread that the majority of sexually active people who have not received the HPV vaccine will contract the disease at some time in their lives. Most people are unaware they are infected.
More than a hundred distinct HPV strains exist, some of which never manifest symptoms and cannot be identified without them.
Once diagnosed, refusing to seek treatment and ignoring that diagnosis is a choice we will probably come to regret. But first, let’s define what HPV is and get a better understanding.
What is HPV?
It is a collection of 150 related viruses that make up the human papillomavirus. The symptoms of the various strains vary, and some have none at all. All of the viruses are sexually transmitted, and some of them can cause cancer and genital warts.
Thankfully, there is now a vaccine for the HPV cancer-causing strains. For those under the age of 26, this vaccination is strongly advised.
How is HPV transmitted?
Skin-to-skin contact is how the human papillomavirus spreads. Vaginal, anal, or oral contact is the most typical way it is transmitted. There is no way to totally prevent acquiring or spreading the virus except by abstaining. By using condoms and other barriers during sexual contact, you can reduce your risk.
There is a higher chance of catching or transmitting HPV as a result of the following factors:
- Missing necessary OB/GYN appointments
- Not having access to education or health insurance
- Not being aware that you need therapy because you have no symptoms
- Having a number of relationships
- Having sex without employing a barrier technique or protection
It is possible to have multiple HPV types and not have any symptoms. Since symptoms may not show up for years after an infection, it is possible to inadvertently transfer the illness to a large number of people.
Does HPV lead to health issues?
Ninety percent of the time, HPV disappears on its own within two years without causing any health issues. The issue is different if it is left untreated though. Untreated HPV can result to the development of genital warts or even cancer.
A little bump or multiple bumps in the vaginal area would typically mean you have genital warts. If you see cauliflower-shaped bumps in your reproductive region, you might want to set an appointment with your doctor or ob-gyne. Usually, a doctor can identify what type of warts they are by looking at the reproductive region.
Cancers of the vulva, anus, penis, and vagina can all be brought on by HPV in addition to cervical cancer. Besides the reproductive region, it may also persist in the throat, tonsils, or at the base of the tongue. HPV in these regions usually cause throat cancer.
After a person contracts HPV, it may take a long time for cancer to develop. It can span from years to decades. Different types of HPV cause cancer or genital warts.
We cannot know for sure who will get cancer or other health issues because of HPV. People with compromised immune systems, such as those living with HIV, are more susceptible to the ill effects of HPV.
The Dangers of HPV If Left Untreated
There is currently no treatment available for any HPV strain. Although there are vaccines to prevent HPV, if you engaged in sexual activity before the vaccine was developed or before obtaining it, you may already be infected. Because the number of infected people is so high, it is crucial to get tested on a regular basis just to be safe.
The first step in assuming control is testing. The only method to detect a high-risk HPV infection before it develops into cancer is to get tested and diagnosed. If treated early, HPV can be cured.
A doctor can eliminate genital warts. The most dangerous risk that untreated HPV poses is cancer. Anal, vaginal, penile, and throat cancer can all develop as a result of HPV if left untreated.
You must continue to see your OB/GYN for routine checks. Your doctor will do any necessary blood work and look for any symptoms of cancer during your routine visit. By ensuring an early cancer diagnosis, you can increase the likelihood that your treatment will be effective.
Investing some time in learning more from the HPV clinical trials nearest you can help you make the best decisions that could actually protect you from this and save your life.