Human Papilloma virus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in USA. But, there is so much that people don’t know about or misunderstand about HPV. Below, we have listed some surprising facts about HPV.
- Most People Have HPV
If you are sexually active, you’ve got at least 50 percent chance of having had the virus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 80% of women will be infected before they are 50 years of age; that’s how common it is.
- There are More than One Types of HPV
Actually, there are more than 150 strains of HPV. However, new ones are still being discovered. Of which, 30-40 types of HPV are typically transmitted through sexual contact and may cause genital warts or cancer.
- Men Can also be Infected
HPV is mostly associated with causing cancer in women, especially cervical cancer in 99% of cases. But men can be infected as well. Almost all sexually active men will get HPV at some time through sexual contact.
- Women May be More Likely to Transmit HPV
Yes, you read it correctly. The risk of new infection is said to be 60% higher in the male partner compared to the female partner. Thus, women are more likely to transmit it to their male partners.
- HPV Can Cause Hoarseness
Although symptoms depend on the type of the virus one is infected with, HPV mostly leads to genital warts and cancer. However, HPV can also result in warts in the throat, a rare condition called Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (RRP). These growths may affect the voice, causing hoarseness and other symptoms such as chronic coughing and breathing problems.
- HPV Can Cause Throat Cancer
The growths associated with RRP are benign, but HPV can also cause throat cancer. The symptoms in such cases may include chronic sore throat, hoarseness of voice, and pain when swallowing.
- Condoms Can’t Completely Protect You From HPV
Although condoms can reduce your risk of HPV infection, they can’t eliminate the infection entirely. The virus can live in the hair bearing areas of groin and thus the infection can be spread even if you use a condom.
- Smoking May Raise Your chances of HPV-Related Cancer
Smoking weakens our immune system, making it susceptible to various infections including HPV- related cancer. Thus, it is important to quit smoking right away.
- You Still Need Pap Smears Even if You’ve Got the HPV Vaccine
HPV vaccination- Gardasil doesn’t protect against all types of HPV infections. Thus, it is advisable to get screened in case of any doubts.
- The Vaccine Doesn’t Treat HPV
Vaccination doesn’t preventa person from all types of HPV strains, nor does it protect against any strain a person may be infected with before taking the vaccine. Vaccines don’t fight the virus in people who’ve already acquired it. Therefore, vaccination is suggested for young adults in their early twenties.
- Natural Alternatives That Can Help
Once a person is infected with HPV, the virus stays in the person’s body throughout life. Thus, it is said that, there’s no treatment for the HPV virus. Conventional medicines include anti-virals which provide temporary relief or may suppress the infection. However, we can boost our immune system with the help of natural supplements in order to keep the virus in control. The following herbs and supplements may help:
- Hypericum mysorense
- Nigella sativa (Black seed oil)
Studies suggest that Nigella sativa, more commonly known as the black seed oil may possess immune-modulatory and immunotherapeutic properties.
Monolaurin is a derivative of Lauric acid and studies on Monolaurin suggest prevention of replication of HPV virus and it dissolves viral envelopes, which makes the infective agent more vulnerable to the immune system.
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