“Let’s Talk About Sex” HPV – Important Points to Protect Yourself
Let’s Talk About Sex and HPV
By Misee Harris
The human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States.
Unlike more commonly known STIs/STDs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia which are bacterial infections and can be cured with antibiotic treatment, HPV is viral and thus has no cure.
More than 50% of sexually active men and women have been exposed to HPV at some point in their lives. This statistic amounts to nearly 20 million Americans and newly infected individuals is currently at a rise with nearly 6 million new cases being diagnosed each year.
5 Most Important Points
1. There is a vaccination for HPV. The Gardasil vaccination protects unexposed individuals to HPV strains 6, 11, 16, and 18. Strain 16 has been linked to oral cancer.
2. Cervcal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among women around the world.
3. HPV can cause genital warts.
4. HPV can be transmitted by any type of bodily fluid exchange, such as drinking after someone who is infected, infected hands, and bathing towels. Studies are inclusive as to if vertical transmission of HPV can occur from mother to baby during vaginal delivery.
5. Protect yourself. The use of oral damns during oral sex as well as condoms can help prevent the transmission of the virus.
Dr. Misee Harris is a nationally recognized leader in the realm of dentistry. Through outreach programs and healthcare initiatives, her organization’s efforts have resulted in significant gains in the quality of diagnosis and treatment options available to the families of thousands of children with urgent dental needs.
Insert: Carlos Stephenson