Understanding Human papillomavirus (HPV) And How It Affects Your Sex Life

Did you know that Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States? It’s different from Human Immunodefiency Virus (HIV) and Herpex Simplex Virus (HSV). There are over 100 types of HPV, but not all of them can cause health problems. Its bad types can cause warts and even cancer. Cancer of the vulva, cervix, vagina, or anus can caused by types 6, 11, 16, or 18, and these types are tagged as “high risk types”. While some warts can be caused by types 2, 10, 42, and more.

Possible Causes of HPV

HPV is caused by human papillomavirus which is a DNA virus from the family of papillomavirus. It can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. Anal and vaginal sex are the most common method of transfer. It can also be caught by early age of sexual intercourse, multiple partners and poor immune system. The virus can also be transmitted to a baby during the mother’s pregnancy. The symptoms are not really manifested until the person discovers she/he is infected. 

How HPV Can Be Prevented?

HPV can be prevented by having HPV vaccines shot. There are three types of vaccines which can prevent HPV infection. They are Gardasil, Gardadil 9, and Cervarix. All of these vaccines protect a person from HPV types 16, 18, 6 and 11. The earlier the age of a woman, the more effective the vaccine will be because it is recommended to be injected to those women who are not infected yet.

Although they can still be injected to women are who already infected, but the benefits they will get will be limited. For early detection of cervical cancer, there are available medical tests such as Papanicolaou test that can detect early cancer or abnormal cells. Early detection of the cervical cancer will lead to its early treatment and will result to higher chance of surviving.

Warts in the genital can be removed by freezing or cyrotherapy. Cyrotherapy is used to relieve muscle pain, sprain, swelling, benign, and malignant tissue damage using low temperature. 

On the other hand, there is no clear treatment to HPV, but a strong immune system may reduce the spread of the virus. 

What to do when you discover that you have an HPV?

A woman who has been infected with HPV infection may felt terrified when she will first hear the news. Questions like, “How long does it take to turn into cancer?”, “Is there any treatment to it?”, “Am I going to die if it can’t be treated?”, and so on, will surely goes through her mind. 

Living a life with HPV is very critical, yes. The woman needs to go through many medical processes such as cyrotheraphy and LEEP, and consecutive visits to her doctor for follow-up checkups. At some point of the medication, a woman may feel like she is not in her own body anymore. She will feel tired, nauseous, emotional, and restless. Indeed, it will have a very bad impact in her sex life because she will be afraid of having sex and getting another infection. It will take years before she will have the confidence to have sex again. 

There also instances that a woman may lose her trust to men and may think that she has been abused because of the infection she got. It will really take huge amount of time before she can recover and let go from the sexual trauma she experienced. 

But, contacting HPV shouldn’t prevent a woman from having sex. The man should be educated and informed that although HPV can be get from skin-to-skin contact such as penetration, there are still ways on how to enjoy sex and it is thru wearing condoms.