Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus passed from person to person through skin-to-skin contact. There are more than 100 types of HPV; about 30 types infect the genital areas of men and women. One myth says HPV is spread only by sexual intercourse, however it can be spread by an infected partner, through vaginal, anal or oral contact – without intercourse.
Twelve types of HPV can cause genital warts in genital areas of both men and women. Surgical removal of the wart or medication can be applied to remove the warts, depending on the area. Cancer of the vulva, vagina, anus, penis and the head and neck are caused by about 15 types of HPV and two types cause cancer of the cervix. It usually takes several years for cervical cancer to develop, however a Pap smear can detect early signs of abnormal cell changes and allows for early treatment so the cells do not become cancer.
“Knowing that cervical cancer from HPV can be prevented or caught early only requires an annual GYN exam and a vaccine, we can prevent or reduce the impact of disease,”.
GARDASIL© is the only HPV vaccine that helps protect against 4 types of HPV. In girls and young women ages 9 to 26, GARDASIL© helps protect against two types of HPV that cause about 75% of cervical cancer cases, and two more types of HPV that cause 90% of genital warts cases. In boys and young men ages 9 to 26, GARDASIL© helps protect against 90% of genital warts cases, which prevents further spread of HPV.
You’ve no doubt seen the commercials urging parents to immunize their teen and pre-teen daughters against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus known to cause cervical cancer in women.
But surprisingly, there has been a recent upswing in HPV-related oropharynx (throat) cancer in men making it important to bring attention to parents that boys and young men ages 9 to 26 can be vaccinated too and be protected against genital warts caused by HPV.
Before you or your daughter or son is exposed to the HPV virus, talk with your doctor about GARDASIL©, the vaccine. Schedule your talk today, contact the Women’s Health and Menopause Center at 248-932-9223.