HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
HPV or human papillomavirus is a common virus that can cause several cancers later in life.
Nearly everyone will get HPV at some point in their lives. There are many types of HPV. Some types of HPV can cause life-threatening conditions such as cervical, oral and throat cancers. 14 million people in the U.S. get a new HPV infection each year, while nearly 40,000 people are diagnosed with a new HPV-associated cancer each year.
How is HPV spread?
You can get HPV through intimate skin-to-skin contact during sex, and a person with HPV can pass the infection to someone even when they have no signs or symptoms.
How can I reduce my risk of getting HPV and the health problems it causes?
- Get vaccinated: HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention
- The most effective thing individuals can do to reduce their risk of developing HPV-related cancers is to get vaccinated. All people ages 9 through 26 years, including boys and girls, are recommended to get the vaccine. The vaccine can also be given to some adults older than 26 years. The HPV vaccine is safe and has been proven to reduce and prevent HPV-associated cancers such as cervical, oral, throat, anal, penile, and vulvar cancers. Please click here to learn more about the HPV vaccine.
- Get screened for cervical cancer
- Women aged 21 to 65 years old should receive routine screening for cervical cancer. This can be done through a Pap test or HPV test. Pap tests should begin at age 21 and happen every 3 years. This screening will help identify early signs of cancer, which can lead to more effective treatment.
- Use protection when sexually active
- Using condoms the correct way during sex can lower the chances of getting HPV. However, HPV can infect areas the condom does not cover, which means the virus can still be spread even with condoms.
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