Did you know that when you attend a cervical screening (smear test) you are being tested for human papillomavirus?
HPV is an extremely common infection that is spread by skin-to-skin contact. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by infection with the high-risk HPV virus, which can sometimes cause abnormal cells to grow in the cervix. In most cases, these abnormal cells go away on their own without treatment. However, sometimes they can become cancerous. This is why cervical screening is so important, as it can detect cells before they reach that stage.
10 myths about HPV
1. It’s rare
Completely opposite. It’s really common, so common that four out of five people (80%) will contract the virus at some point in their lives. This is why it is so important to remove the stigma against the virus.
2. It’s always something to worry about
There are more than 100 types of HPV and most are nothing to worry about. However, there are 13 high-risk types that can cause cancer. maybe – will not. In most cases, if you or any partner has high-risk HPV, your body should be able to clear the infection, just like with low-risk infections. In some cases, the infection can cause abnormalities in the cells of the cervix which, if not detected and monitored, can develop into cervical cancer.
3. You’ll Know If You Have It
Wrong. Normal HPV has no signs or symptoms, so it can be difficult to tell if someone has had it. By participating in regular smear tests, you can identify and treat high-risk HPV infections and any abnormalities caused by the infection if needed.
4. Only promiscuous people get HPV
You can get HPV the first time you have sex, so this is not true. HPV is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact in the genital area, so anyone who has ever had any form of sex is at risk. If you’ve had multiple sex partners, or one of your sex partners has, you’re simply more likely to be exposed to the virus. However, because HPV is really common, you can get it even if you only have one sexual partner.
HPV can stay dormant (inactive) in the body for years – even decades! So, if you have a long-term sexual partner and find out you have HPV, it doesn’t mean they were unfaithful.
5. HPV is the virus of young people
No. HPV is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact of the genital area, so anyone who has been sexually active can get HPV. It’s important to remember that HPV can be inactive for a long time, so even if you’ve been in a relationship with the same partner for many years or haven’t been sexually active for a long time, you can still virus infection. This is why it is important to continue to take regular smear tests throughout your life, until you are no longer invited.
6. You won’t get it if you’re healthy
HPV infections are very common, so while having a healthy lifestyle can help your body protect itself from HPV, the only way to completely avoid the virus is to diet.
So where does health come from? Your immune system is responsible for fighting off HPV infections, so the healthier your immune system is, the more effectively it can do its job. So eating well, exercising, and most importantly, not smoking or stopping smoking can all help. However, HPV can affect anyone who is sexually active, even very healthy people, so you can’t completely reduce your chances of getting the disease – no matter how much green juice you drink. and take a yoga class!
7. If you use condoms, you won’t get HPV
Incorrect! Wearing a condom will reduce your risk of contracting the virus. However, HPV can live on the skin in and around the entire genital area, which will not be covered by a condom, so it can be sexually transmitted in any form, including including touching or genital-to-genital contact, as well as oral, vaginal and anal sex.
8. No relationship between smoking and HPV infection
Smoking is actually a major risk factor for developing cervical cancer. If you smoke, your immune system around the cells of the cervix can be weakened, making it harder for the body to prevent and eliminate high-risk HPV infections that can cause cancer cells. development abnormalities.
9. HPV vaccine means you won’t get HPV
If you’ve had the HPV vaccine, you’re protected from at least 70% of cancer-causing HPV infections, but not fully. Taking the smear test is important whether you have been vaccinated or not, as it will detect abnormalities caused by other types of HPV.
10. If you have HPV, you may get cancer
It is true that 99.7% of all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, but most people will clear HPV with no problem. To protect yourself, you should make sure you take smear tests when invited, get an HPV shot if you qualify, and make sure you know the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer. . See your GP if you are concerned.
In Jo’s Certified Cancer Trust They hear from women and others with a cervix every day, who read that they have HPV on their cervical test results mail, rush to Google, and then panic when they read that it’s an STI. They wanted to challenge the stigma surrounding HPV. Although there are some similarities between HPV and some sexually transmitted diseases, most of us will get HPV regardless of sexual behavior. We believe the level of stigma associated with the virus needs to change.
This summer, we partnered with SheSpot to create the last thing together self-love summer bouquetPacked full of incredible sexual health products. Summer box still available for purchase and for every pack sold we’re giving away 5% of the profits Jo’s Certified Cancer Trust.