Myths and facts about sexually transmitted HPV

According to the BBC’s news, the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), which is found in 80 percent of people, is often seen as a source of embarrassment.

The UK government invites women to be tested for HPV to prevent cervical cancer. But there are concerns that women may not take the test because of prejudices about the disease.

About half of the 2,000 women surveyed by the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Foundation say they would think their partner was cheating on them if they contracted HPV.

However, this virus can survive in the human body for years without becoming active.

Half of the women who participated in the survey said that they felt cold and ashamed of sex after being infected with the virus, 35 percent said they did not know what HPV was, and 60 percent thought that HPV meant cancer.

Laura Flaherty, 31, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016, says her first thought when she learned she had HPV was that her partner was cheating on her:

“I didn’t know anything about the virus, I felt contaminated. I didn’t know how common the virus was and how long it might go without symptoms. No one I spoke to had heard of what happened, but most of us will come into contact with HPV.”

Myths and facts about HPV

Myth: The virus is transmitted only through sexual intercourse

Fact: Although HPV is mostly transmitted through sexual intercourse, it can be transmitted in any situation where the genitals or mouths rub against each other.

Myth: Indicates an addiction to HPV worms

Fact: 80 percent of us will come into contact with HPV at some point in our lives. This very contagious virus can be transmitted in your first sexual intercourse.

Myth: HPV means I have cancer

Fact: There are 200 types of HPV, of which 40 affect the genitals. Some of them cause irritating but harmless warts. 13 types of HPV also cause cervical, mouth and throat cancer, but these are rare.

Myth: You’ll know if you get HPV

Fact: HPV usually has no symptoms, and often the immune system clears the infection. Cervical exam detects abnormal cells

“For governments, getting HPV testing makes it a lot easier to identify those at risk for cervical cancer,” says Robert Music, Chairman of the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Foundation.

“But HPV can be confusing, we need to normalize it and make sure people aren’t ashamed, not afraid.”

With the discovery of the HPV vaccine in 2008, the presence of the virus in girls aged 12-18 is rapidly decreasing.

In England, HPV vaccine started to be offered to homosexuals aged 16-45 last year, and the government announced that they would give the vaccine to boys in the future.

BBC, Myths and facts about sexually transmitted HPV, 2018

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