The ABCs of HPV
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is an incredibly common disease that is actually a group of more than 100 viruses.
According to the CDC, about 79 million people in the United States currently are infected with HPV, and 14 million will become infected each year. Here are a few things you should know about HPV so you can be prepared:
1. Many people get HPV
Eighty percent of women get HPV before the age of 50. Most of the time, HPV goes away on its own. However, there are occasions where HPV can have long-term effects on people.
2. HPV doesn’t have a singular meaning
Scientists have identified more than 170 different types of HPV, and they continue to find more. According to the most recent studies, 40 types of HPV are spread through some form of sexual contact, 12 are linked to cancer, and two are HPV-related cancers.
3. Men can get HPV too
According to the CDC, almost all sexually active men will contract HPV at some point in their lives, and they contract it the same way as women do. Even though it goes away on its own a majority of the time, if it persists, it can cause cancer of the anus, penis, and throat.
4. It Can Cause Throat Cancer
HPV is a huge reason behind the increase in throat cancer, and doctors predict that it will cause more throat cancers than cervical cancers by 2020. Common symptoms include hoarseness and pain when swallowing.
5. Good Oral Hygiene Can Protect Against HPV
A recent study of 3,500 people showed that those with poor oral hygiene were 56 percent more likely to get HPV. While the main link is unknown, it’s important to focus on oral hygiene to protect against a variety of diseases.
6. There’s a Vaccine for HPV
There are two approved vaccines for HPV – Gardasil and Cervarix. Both require three different vaccines at separate times, but one dose might actually be enough. For a vaccine that protects against precancers of the vulva, vagina, and anus, choose Gardasil. CDC guidelines suggest girls should get the vaccine between 11 and 12 years of age.
7. Boys Can Get the Vaccine Too
Gardasil is also approved for 11 and 12 year old boys. Giving the vaccine to boys can also indirectly protect their future partners.
HPV Vaccine in West Orange, NJ
To schedule an appointment with one of our physicians to learn more about the HPV vaccine, call (973) 243-9300.