HPV – what is it?
A few days ago I had the pleasure to meet a lovely guy with whom I was lucky enough to spend the night. Before anything even started to happen he told me that he’d recently contracted HPV. I was incredibly impressed that a) he’d been so upfront/honest with me, and b) he’d managed to tell me before I’d told him my HIV status.
So we had a chat about our various issues, both starting and ending with H and ending in V but all in all quite different conditions. Although I thought I was quite clued up on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) I really didn’t know all that much about HPV. He explained a little, as did I about HIV.
Yesterday, being the curious soul that I am, I decided to do a little research into HPV. I’ve heard it mentioned here and there, especially into vaccinating school girls but that’s about it. I did some googling, I spoke to a sexual health nurse and my HIV consultant and below are some of my findings.
- HPV (Human papillomavirus) is the virus responsible for warts.
- There are currently 120 known strains of the virus.
- HPV is the most commonly transmitted STI in the entire world, (second in the UK behind Chlamydia)
- Approximately 80% of the population will contract a genital strain of HPV in their lifetime, with the 20-24 year old age being the most prevalent, although most will not show symptoms.
- Condoms provide some protection, but not complete protection as they do not cover the entire genital area.
- The human body will clear most HPV infections within 2 years naturally.
- Worldwide 5.2% of all cancers can be traced back to the HPV virus (largely anal and cervical cancers)
I asked my consultant whether I should get vaccinated against HPV and he told me that I’d have to pay to have it done privately as I don’t fall under the current NHS vaccination remit – and that it’d likely be wasted money as he’d bet I’ve already been exposed to at least one strain in the past.
It’s amazing such a common virus, one that will reach approximately 80% of us at some point is so unknown isn’t it?
Just another reason to go get checked eh? For more information check out the NHS page on HPV
All the best,
Posted on 07/08/2012, in Diagnosis, Healthcare, Sex, Sexual Health, Testing and tagged 2012, aids, august, britain, british, cancer, clinic, condoms, england, english, genital, GUM, health, HIV, hpv, human, lad, nhs, papillomavirus, positive, sexual, std, sti, uk, ukpositivelad, warts. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.