With everyone focused on battling the Covid 19 pandemic, little attention is given to other health threats that we may face. This now poses risks to our overall health because when we put these illnesses out of our radar it is also likely that we stop taking precautions against them. One such health threat is HPV or the human papillomavirus. HPV infections can lead to serious threats to your health. This is why you should take a close look at it along with ways to guard against HPV.
What is HPV?
HPV or the human papillomavirus is one of the most common sexually transmitted viruses. There are usually no signs or symptoms of the virus itself which is why most people aren’t aware that they have it. This is how infected people are able to spread the virus without even being aware of it. The danger here is that HPV can lead to various illnesses like genital warts or worse cancer. The most common ones associated with this virus are cervical, oropharyngeal, and genital cancer.
“According to a 2019 study by the HPV Information Centre, about 7,190 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed annually in the Philippines.1 The disease has also taken almost 4,088 lives every year according to the same study.”
How do you get it?
HPV is a sexually transmitted virus. Its main mode of transmission is through forms of intimate skin-to-skin contact. It is for this reason why health experts recommend that precautions against HPV should be taken by sexually active individuals.
What measures can you take to guard against HPV?
There are several ways to protect yourself from HPV. The foremost of which is to stick to one partner. Having a mutually monogamous relationship limits your risk of contracting the virus especially if both of you have already taken precautions against it. Another way to guard against HPV is by using skin barriers like condoms. By reducing skin-to-skin contact you are also reducing the risk of infection.
HPV vaccines can also help protect you from the illness. Children as young as 9 years old can already be vaccinated and get protection from HPV in the future. However, it is also important to consult a pediatrician first before having your child vaccinated. As for adults, the HPV vaccines are ideal for those aged 26 and below. However, those who are aged between 27 to 45 may consult their physicians about the pros and cons of getting their HPV jabs. Regardless of your age, it is always a must to consult your doctor before getting vaccinated.
Last but not the least, awareness. Being aware of HPV, what it is, how it spreads, and what to do about it, is one of the best ways to guard against HPV. By being aware of it we can make conscious decisions to protect our health and those we care about.
This is why we should also support health awareness campaigns like the zoom conference on Guard Against HPV held last May 19, 2021.
Guard Against HPV
HPV awareness advocates re-launched the Guard Against HPV campaign by highlighting key points on HPV and HPB related diseases. They also gave tips on how to prevent HPV infections and related cancers. Another important point that they mentioned is that men should equally be concerned about HPV to prevent its spread. At the end of the session, the hand gesture symbolizing the campaign was presented to the attendees. This was done to help raise awareness in the digital sphere.
Sources 1 Bruni L, Albero G, Serrano B, Mena M, Gómez D, Muñoz J, Bosch FX, de Sanjosé S. ICO/IARC Information Centre on HPV and Cancer (HPV Information Centre). Human Papillomavirus and Related Diseases in Philippines. Summary Report 17 June 2019. Date accessed 8 April 2021.