What do girls usually discuss? Everyone wonders, especially those who are not part of a closed clique. Having said that, a girl’s gang is a place for support, honest advice, and information! Nothing is off-limits, be it clothes, parties, relationships, studies, career options, health, and things we should be concerned about because someone had a bad experience.
However, we cannot discuss the things we don’t know much about, including sexual health. It’s not that we don’t discuss dating, but conversations are more experience-based rather than fact-based. When it comes to sexual health, Sexually transmitted infections are one such area, especially HPV or the Human Papillomavirus that many of us are not aware of, and so factual conversations around this topic are rare.
Why should we be concerned about HPV?
HPV (Human papillomavirus) is a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI).3
Nearly 80% of sexually active women get infected with HPV at least once in their lifetime.2 It’s not something that affects a small population.
Surprising? yes! But why should we be concerned? That’s because certain HPV types can cause cancers of the vagina, anus, cervix and vulva in women. And every 5 minutes, nearly 1 individual in India loses their life to HPV-related cancers. 1
Almost every sexually active individual is at risk of contracting this sexually transmitted infection. And now that we know about it, we must spread the word.
Did you know HPV infects 660 million people worldwide. 9
How does it spread?
One can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who is infected by the virus. 5 HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms; and in most cases, HPV shows no symptoms so it is hard to know if one has it. Any sexually active individual can contract HPV, even if they have had only one partner.
- Skin-to-skin contact
It spreads mainly by intimate skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, oral, or anal sexual activity. 7
- Oral Sex or Deep Kissing
It can spread through any sexual activity, such as oral sex or deep kissing. 8
- Other ways of spreading
The virus can also spread by genital contact without sex, but this is not common. While oral-genital and hand-genital spread of some genital HPV types have been reported, there may be other ways of being infected with HPV that aren’t yet clear.
Can HPV cause Cervical Cancer?
There are over 100 types of HPV, of which, typically, HPV can be categorized as high-risk HPV that is cancer-causing or low-risk HPV that is non-cancer causing. At least 14 of these 100 types are high-risk. 2 HPV is the cause of almost all cases of cervical cancer. 1Cervical cancer is the 2nd most frequent and the most common cancer among Indian women, but it is preventable. 1
Screening tests are used to check for diseases when there are no symptoms. Screening for cervical cancer helps find precancerous cell changes at an early stage, before they become cancerous and when treatment can prevent it from developing.
And does it ever go away?
Most HPV infections clear out on their own. However, if the infection remins, it can lead to the growth of abnormal cells in the cervix in women. If left untreated, these cells may develop into cervical cancer, which is the 2nd most common cancer among Indian women. 1
In India, the mortality rate of HPV-related cancers is about 60%.11
Can HPV be prevented and treated?
There is no treatment for the virus itself. However, a few ways to prevent HPV include regular screening, practicing safe sex, and getting a vaccination.
80% of HPV-related cancers are preventable 8 Consult the expert on the site or discuss with your doctor
to take the necessary preventive measures.
What is the recommended age for taking the HPV vaccine?
You must consult your doctor for the recommended age to take the HPV vaccine.
Now that we have discussed the basics of HPV, taking precautions and spreading awareness is the key. So tell your friends, inner circle, and girl gang what you have learned from this post, and look for credible information about HPV and its prevention.
To know more about it, visit here. You can also consult an expert for free to clear all your HPV-related doubts.
Issued in public interest with MSD India.
1. Walboomers JM, Jacobs MV, Manos MM, et al. Human papillomavirus is a necessary
cause of invasive cervical cancer worldwide. J Pathol. 1999 Sep;189(1):12-19
2. WebMD. What is HPV
https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/hpv-genital-warts/hpv-virus-information-about-human-papillomavirus, accessed on 3 March 2021.
3. National Health Portal,
https://www.nhp.gov.in/disease/communicable-disease/human-papillomavirus-hpv-infection-and-cervical-cancer, accessed on 5 March 2016
4. World Health Organisation. Factsheet. Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer,
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cervical-cancer, 3 March 2021
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HPV and cancer. Basic information
https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/basic_info/index.htm Accessed on 7 July 2020.
6. American cancer society
26 October, 2021
7. Centers For Disease Control & Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.html, assessed March 2022
8.https://www.cancer.org/healthy/hpv-vaccine.html, accessed on 3 March, 2022
9. Report of the consultation on human papillomavirus vaccines: World Health Organization, Geneva, April 2005. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/69150/WHO_IVB_05.16.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Accessed on 14 Oct, 2022
10. Bruni L, Albero G, Serrano B, et al. ICO/IARC Information Centre on HPV and Cancer (HPV Information Centre). Human Papillomavirus and Related Diseases in India. Summary Report 22 October 2021.
11. FOGSI’s Update in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Vol.2. New Delhi. Evangel Publishing. 2022. Chapter 33. HPV Vaccination-An Update.p.166.
This Post Has One Comment
Thank you for sharing these great tips! As someone who is just starting out with my own small business, I found this post incredibly helpful. I especially appreciate the advice to focus on a specific niche and to develop a solid business plan. I’ll definitely be incorporating these tips into my own business strategy. Keep up the great work!