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 "HPV (human papillomavirus)"

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HPV

HPV is a genital STD that is caused by what is known as the human papillomavirus, which is the name given to over 100 different types of viruses.

Many of these viruses are transmitted sexually and will affect the genital area of both women and men. Many times the HPV infection will clear up on its own; yet other times, it won’t and will only be detected when a woman has a Pap test, or a male discovers that he has genital warts.

Symptoms of HPV

The symptoms of HPV are sometimes so subtle that many people won’t even know that they are infected until visual signs are present (in males). Many times HPV will cause minor genital warts, which are bumps in the genital area. These genital warts will first appear as soft, pink, flesh-like swellings on the penis or around the vagina. They can even appear on the thighs and groin area. After a person has had sex with someone who is infected with HPV they may get symptoms anywhere from one week to several weeks after the contact.

Whereas women can detect HPV via a Pap test, men face a much tougher challenge. There are no HPV tests available for men, which means that they will have to rely on a visible inspection for warts if they have had unprotected sex with someone that they suspect has HPV. The genital warts that are a symptom of HPV will be easily visible to the naked eye, and men that have regular unprotected sex should make it a habit to check their genital area to look for HPV symptoms.

If a person has had unprotected sex and been in contact with someone else’s genital area they should see their doctor to rule out the possibility of HPV. Although it/s one of the milder STD’s that can be caught these days, HPV is still a bonafide STD that will need attention and care, lest it lead to more serious adverse health conditions.

Unlike some other STDs, HPV is often easily treated. A doctor will prescribe a medicated cream that is applied to the genital warts for a period of time or until the warts disappear. Many times, the warts from HPV will go away on their own, but each case is different for each person and will require the care of a doctor to determine the extent of the warts.

As more and people realize the need to have protected sex HPV and other STD’s will slowly fade although never entirely be gone. There will always be those people that have lifestyles, and a lack of education, that makes them continue to have un-safe sex. Promoting a healthy lifestyle through community education is important in the prevention of HPV and other STD’s. People can contact their health center for more information about HPV.

Jim Shaw

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