According to the latest statistics, untreated human papillomavirus (HPV) causes more than 90 percent of all anal and cervical cancers. It also causes about 70 percent of all oropharyngeal cancers. However, most people aren’t even aware that HPV causes cancer at all.
In the study, researchers from the University of Texas surveyed a total of 6,261 men and women in the United States. Two-thirds of the men and a third of the women were not aware that HPV causes cervical cancer. Even more alarming is the fact that more than half of men in the United States have HPV.
Learn about HPV, sexually transmitted diseases, and STD testing in New York City.
What is HPV?
The human papillomavirus is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections in the USA. If you are currently sexually active with one or multiple sex partners, there is a very high chance that at some point, you will have been infected with HPV.
HPV also causes a high number of oral, anal, vulva, penile, and cervical cancers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most cancers caused by HPV are preventable with the HPV vaccine and STD lab tests.
How is HPV spread?
HPV can be spread through oral, vaginal, and anal sex with someone who has the virus. It may also spread through close skin contact. The virus often has no symptoms at all. Many people are unaware and the only way to confirm is with STD testing.
When it comes to taking care of your sexual health and preventing HPV, practicing safe sex is crucial. However, it is not 100 percent effective. That is because HPV is extremely contagious. Even a condom does not provide complete protection against HPV.
The virus may live in exposed areas and it can be contracted through oral sex as well. This is why STD testing is so crucial. But it is more accurate to get tested in an STD clinic or health care facility than using home test kits.
Is there an HPV vaccine?
There is an HPV vaccine available for adolescents and young adults. You must get the vaccine after age 11 or 12, usually before the age of 26. Getting the vaccine after becoming sexually active does not protect against HPV. That is because you are most likely to test positive for it.
If you are older than 26 or sexually active and have not had the HPV vaccine, then you need to get STD testing for HPV. A blood test can’t detect it and a simple urine sample might not be too accurate. Getting tested for STDs and getting pap smears regularly will help detect almost all precancerous changes before they turn into full-blown cancer. Cervical cancer is completely preventable if doctors detect and treat it early enough.
What are the signs of HPV infection?
There are more than 150 types of HPV and many of them cause no symptoms at all. That is why so many people are not aware that they have STD. The only real sign of an HPV infection is genital warts.
Genital warts are small flesh-colored bumps that look like cauliflower. They generally do not hurt, although they are itchy and may cause bleeding during intercourse.
The strain of HPV that causes genital warts is not the same one that causes cancer. Those that cause cancer are called “high-risk” strains and there are 12 types of these. These strains do not cause any symptoms at all. So, you’d never know until you undergo an STD check and regular pap smears.
Where can I get STD testing near me?
You can get same-day walk-in testing for common STDs at Nao Medical. We are a CLIA certified facility that offers HPV and HIV testing as well as screenings for herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. We perform pap smear tests for women and anal swabs for men. Online appointment scheduling and results are also available.