HPV – 3 Ways to Avoid Getting It
There are over 250 strains or types of HPV virus that have been identified to date. Of these, most are benign and harmless. Although they can’t be cured, the symptoms they produce can be treated successfully, and most of these virus strains clear themselves up within a few years. Still, anyone would want to avoid things like common warts that result from HPV infection.
A few other, less common strains of HPV hang around in the body for years, weakening the immune system and causing mutations in healthy cells that may lead to cancer. Because these types have no symptoms, it is important to think about ways to protect yourself against becoming infected with any type of HPV virus.
Although it is difficult if not impossible to protect yourself from any HPV strain at any time, there are some common sense habits that you can keep in mind, and keep yourself much safer.
1) Be aware… of unclean environments
The most common strains of HPV in the general population are those that cause common warts. You can avoid infection with these strains by simply being aware of the ways in which these types are transmitted. These are hardy strains of the virus, that survive on dry (non-skin) surfaces for days. So beware of this when you touch objects that a person with warts may have touched. In gyms and locker rooms, be particular aware of this, and keep yourself clean by washing your hands often and showering with soap after use of common gym equipment. When walking on locker room floors, protect the soles of your feet with flip-flops or other appropriate shoes. Going barefoot in a locker room puts you at risk of not only HPV, but other viruses.
2) Be informed… about the ways in which sexually-transmitted HPV strains work.
Know not only the modes of transmission but the various types. Doing this will make you more likely to be thinking about the types of regular health screenings that can catch a bad problem before it develops.
Remember that HPV is passed not only during intercourse, but during oral sex and anal sex. Many of these strains can cause serious cancers later on in life, although they have no symptoms at the time, and often never have any symptoms, up to the day when cancer is diagnosed!
3) Practice safe sex… every time you have sex.
Having sex without a condom puts you at far greater risk. Having oral sex with a person who is infected puts you at risk. Having anal sex always puts you at greater risk of anal cancers.
But if there are no symptoms in your partner, and your partner doesn’t KNOW they have it, how can you protect yourself absolutely from getting it? The answer is that you can’t. But you can be careful about who you have sex with, and know that the more people you are intimate with, the greater your risk of getting HPV from one of them.