What to Know About HPV

HPV (human papillomavirus) is a viral infection that is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact. Although in some cases it doesn’t cause any health problems, it is linked to genital warts and cervical cancer.

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Smear Tests

Recent changes announced to the national smear test campaign mean women living in the UK will be contacted if their test results show they have HPV. However, the connotations that come with a diagnosis are causing misunderstanding about the virus and putting a strain on individuals and their relationships.

The Facts

Approximately 80% of the population will at some point in their lives contract one of the 200 different strains of HPV. Many of these people will never know they have it, and the condition will clear up on its own within 24 months. Unfortunately, in some cases, the virus causes cells to mutate and that, in turn, can lead to cervical cancer.

Misconceptions

Those who are luckily enough to have the condition picked up in time to be treated can still suffer anxiety and question both themselves and their partners – in some cases, accusing their partner of being unfaithful by assuming they have contracted it from someone else.

Many of those who are diagnosed report feeling dirty due to HPV being known as a sexually transmitted disease (STD). This is especially true for younger women who have the virus – check sideeffects.com. Because the virus thrives in the skin surrounding the genitals, it can be passed on during sex, and this is why it is referred to as an STD.

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People are being encouraged to take responsibility for their own sexual health, and chlamydia testing kits Greenwich from companies such as https://www.checkurself.org.uk/plus/home_sti_kits/ come with useful resources and information.

The hit Netflix TV show Sex Education has seen fans flocking to social media to discuss it. It shows teenagers struggling with relationships and sexuality.

Vaccine

In 2008 all girls were offered the HPV vaccine, and last year boys were also offered the vaccine. However, because of the new smear testing system, it is thought the number of cases being diagnosed will rise. If the results show HPV is present but that there are no cell changes, women will be asked to come back the following year to check the virus has gone. If cell changes are detected, women will be referred for further tests as quickly as possible.

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