People are struggling with the HPV vaccine while afraid of having HPV tests. Receiving an HPV diagnosis can be a heavy emotional burden, often leaving individuals feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about their future. Navigating the myriad questions about the virus, its implications, and the subsequent steps can be daunting. The first thing to remember is that HPV is more common than one might think, and it is possible to manage it effectively. To begin, understanding HPV is key. It’s not a single virus but a group of more than 200 related viruses. While some types of HPV can lead to certain types of cancer, others can cause warts. Fortunately, most HPV infections, even high-risk types, usually resolve independently without causing health problems. Once diagnosed, it is vital to have a clear action plan. This includes following the prescribed treatment, regular HPV testing, and monitoring for any changes in your health. Regular HPV testing allows healthcare providers to detect any changes early and provide prompt treatment. One way to prevent some types of HPV is vaccination. The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers. Even if you have already been infected with HPV, the vaccine can protect you from other types of the virus.
Furthermore, remember to take care of your emotional health. Reach out to your support system—family, friends, or support groups, and consider speaking with a mental health professional if needed. And don’t forget your physical health – regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep can also help manage the diagnosis. With the right support and resources, you can confidently navigate your HPV diagnosis, take control of your health, and move forward with your life.
How did I get HPV?
Sexual contact can result in the transmission of more than 40 different strains of HPV. It is estimated that 80% of women will be infected with at least one type of HPV during their lifetime. It is frequently impossible to tell when you were exposed to HPV. Some women have been HPV positive for years without knowing it since they have no symptoms. It’s crucial to note that even if you’ve only had one sexual partner, you can catch HPV and spread it through oral sex, direct genital skin contact, and other sexual interactions (not just intercourse). Even in the absence of symptoms, HPV can still spread. This implies that HPV can be transmitted by a person who shows no symptoms at all. HPV can also be spread through Genital touching; In other words, it can be passed between women who have sex with women. Childbirth from a woman to her baby may be another way for HPV to spread. Now that you have been diagnosed with HPV, the question is, what should you do?
1- Be Calm
Every year, many new people become infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is so common that almost all sexually active men and women will contract it at some point in their lives. Although there is no cure for HPV, your body can fight off the virus in most cases, causing the virus to go away in one to two years. But that doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. You should remember that if you have HPV, the risk of cancer is low, but it should be taken seriously. Please don’t freak out, and don’t ignore it. A positive HPV test does not necessarily indicate that you have cervical cancer. Only a small percentage of women infected with one of the HPV strains that cause cervical cancer will ever develop the disease. A positive HPV test, on the other hand, is a sign that cervical cancer may develop in the future. This is why regular testing is. Your doctor can discuss HPV treatment options with you and address any immediate concerns and associated health risks.
2- Talk to your doctor
A positive Human Papillomavirus (HPV) test result may initially seem alarming, but it’s critical to understand that it doesn’t automatically necessitate treatment. The course of action heavily depends on the specifics of your case, the type of HPV strain you have been diagnosed with, and the severity of symptoms, if any. HPV encompasses a large family of over 200 related viruses. Many of these infections, even those associated with high-risk strains, often resolve spontaneously without causing health issues. However, in cases where the virus persists, it can lead to certain health problems, such as genital warts and various types of cancer. If symptoms like genital warts present themselves, treatments like topical medications, surgical removal, or cryotherapy (freezing warts) might be necessary. If you have been diagnosed with a high-risk strain of HPV, your doctor may recommend more frequent screenings to monitor for any potential cellular changes that could suggest a cancer risk. For high-risk types of HPV that lead to cervical precancers or cancers, the treatment could range from a simple procedure to remove precancerous tissue to more intensive interventions like radiation therapy or surgery. Remember, every individual’s journey with HPV is unique. Therefore, your healthcare provider will assess your condition thoroughly and suggest the best course of HPV treatment tailored to your specific needs.
HPV Positive with Symptoms
If you have the HPV virus, you may or may not show symptoms, and symptoms may appear weeks, or even months, after contact with the virus. Because the HPV virus lives in mucous membranes, symptomatic warts can develop on your skin and in genital areas such as the cervix, groin, or anus. The HPV virus is to blame for any warts or other unusual cellular changes that might result in cervical cancer. In that situation, your doctor might suggest one of several therapies: Observe and Wait, Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure, Cryotherapy, and Conization.
HPV Positive with No Symptoms
Even if you test positive for HPV, you might not experience symptoms or need medical attention immediately. Your gynecologist may advise you to keep a careful eye on yourself if you have a positive HPV test result. To evaluate the virus’s genetic makeup and assess the dangers, your doctor might also sample cells from your cervix (similar to a Pap test). Your gynecologist may advise routine Pap tests to check for indications of abnormal cells in the vaginal area if you have an HPV infection known to raise your risk of developing cancer. Your doctor may also use a magnifying instrument during a colposcopy to check your vulva, cervix, and vagina.
HPV Positive while Pregnancy
Even pregnant women who have HPV are frequently not in need of treatment. Unless your disease is exceptionally severe, treatment for genital warts will be postponed until after delivery. Cryotherapy and laser removal are the suggested treatment options if it is necessary. Trichloroacetic acid is the only topical treatment safe for the vagina during pregnancy. Pregnant women should avoid Podophyllin resin since their unborn child may be poisoned by it. Since it is uncommon for HPV to be transmitted to your baby through the birth canal, having an HPV diagnosis does not require you to have a C-section. Your doctor may suggest a non-vaginal delivery if you have genital warts, your pelvic outlet is blocked, or vaginal delivery could cause excessive bleeding.
3- Talk with Your Sexual Partners
If you’ve been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, talk to any sexual partners you’ve had since your previous clean tests. Your partner could pick it up from you, but they have most likely already been exposed by you or someone else. Since HPV frequently causes no symptoms, a person may not even know they have the virus. Sharing your diagnosis with them allows them to undergo their testing. Perhaps asking, “How did this happen” is their natural first response. Identifying your HPV exposure can be challenging because it’s conceivable that the virus existed in your body for some time before it was recognized. People frequently have no idea if they have caught or passed it on. HPV could have been present for years before showing up. It’s important to remember that having an HPV diagnosis isn’t something to be ashamed of. Regular treatments and the practice of safe sex will help you and any future sexual partners stay healthy.
4- It’s Never Too Late to Vaccinate
The HPV vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from HPV-related cancers. The HPV vaccine is recommended for all males and females aged 9 to 26. It is most effective when administered between the ages of 11 and 12. Unvaccinated men and women between the ages of 27 and 45 should speak with their doctor about the vaccine’s benefits. It’s critical to remember that even if you have HPV, it’s not too late to get vaccinated. It can help protect against additional types of HPV and lower the risk of transmitting it to a partner. Consult your doctor about your risk and your best course of action. The following introduces the HPV vaccines that are currently available.
Types of HPV Vaccines
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has so far authorized three HPV vaccines: the 9-valent HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9, 9vHPV), the quadrivalent HPV vaccination (Gardasil, 4vHPV), and the bivalent HPV vaccine (Cervarix, 2vHPV). The three HPV vaccines protect against HPV types 16 and 18, responsible for most HPV cancers. Since late 2016, the only vaccine available in the US has been Gardasil-9 (9vHPV). The following nine HPV types are protected by this vaccine (6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58).
All of the vaccines above have several advantages, which is why they are widely accepted and used for HPV prevention in countries worldwide. Despite this, one of the disadvantages of these vaccines, which are widely available in most developed countries, is that they are relatively expensive in developing countries. This means obtaining these well-known and valuable vaccines is difficult for the general public. On the other hand, OBP’s services and goods are available to developing countries. This company has begun producing biosimilars of the world’s most popular and in-demand vaccines, including Cervarix, which prevents HPV disease, thanks to its cutting-edge machinery and technology. OBP products are significantly less expensive than the original vaccine samples, allowing developing countries to benefit from this improved technology.
5- Use Quality Protection
Using quality protection is an important part of managing HPV. HPV is a highly contagious virus that is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact. This means that using protection, such as a condom, can help reduce the transmission risk. Quality condoms should be used during every sexual encounter, even if you and your partner are monogamous. This is because HPV can lay dormant in the body for years before symptoms appear. Quality protection can also help reduce the risk of developing complications from HPV. These complications can include genital warts, cervical cancer, and other forms of cancer. It is important to note that condoms are not 100% effective in preventing the transmission of HPV. However, they are still an important tool in reducing the risk. This is especially important if you have been diagnosed with HPV, as it is possible to spread the virus even when you are not showing any symptoms. By using quality protection, you can help to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to your sexual partners.
In conclusion, having HPV can be a scary and overwhelming experience. However, it is important to remember that HPV is very common, and many people live with it without any problems. It can be transmitted through sexual contact, but most people don’t know they have it because there are no symptoms in many cases. The most important thing is to get regular screenings and follow the advice of your healthcare provider. With proper care and monitoring, you can live a healthy life with HPV. Living with HPV can be difficult, but it is essential to remember that it is manageable. With proper treatment and prevention, HPV does not have to be a life-long burden. By educating yourself and following your doctor’s instructions, you can minimize the effects of HPV and continue to live a healthy and happy life.