HPV Virus – 6 Reasons You May Be at Risk!
Several factors put you as an individual at greater risk of becoming infected with the HPV virus:
Lack of education – The less you know and understand about the HPV virus and the various ways in which it can be transmitted, the more at risk you are. It is most important to be aware that there are over 250 types (strains) of the virus, and although these strains are all from the same family (human papillomavirus) they do not all behave in the same fashion, nor do they cause the same symptoms or carry the same degree of risk. A little education helps you know the ways in which to protect yourself from all strains of the virus, and especially from those that are most dangerous.
Common sense hygiene – Most common types of HPV can cause the common wart. These are warts that appear on your hands, your elbow and knees, and sometimes the soles of your feet. These symptoms can be unsightly and uncomfortable, but are rarely dangerous. They can be easily treated – often by over the counter medications or by your doctor. Prevention is fairly simple. Be aware of the possibility of the transmission of common warts, especially in public places where many people are touching the same objects.
Perhaps the biggest culprit is the locker room and the gym. Improperly sanitized equipment and floors can often harbor viruses that are easily passed between patrons. Wash your hands often, and when at the locker room wear flip-flops to protect your feet from floor-born viruses.
Misinformation about HPV transmission – You may have heard about HPV from friends who have their information wrong, and now you are buying in to some myths. Do yourself the favor of getting the most up to date information on HPV transmission from reliable sources, such as literature from the Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control, or from your doctor’s office. The Cancer Institute and the CDC have great online information.
The most common misinformation about HPV is that it is prevented by a condom, that oral sex is safe, that you can be tested for it, and that men and gays are not susceptible
Unprotected sex – As is true with many STDs, condoms can lower your risk of acquiring the HPV virus, but they are not 100% effective against its transmission. HPV infection can occur through oral sex as well as intercourse, and gays are at greater risk of infection through anal sex as well. The only 100% foolproof way to protect yourself from those strains of sexually-transmitted HPV that can lead to cancer, is abstinence.
Not being vaccinated – Many physicians appreciate the value of early vaccination for females 9 to 26, to prevent the strains of HPV virus that may later lead to cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva. More young women are getting the vaccine to give themselves peace of mind!
Failure to be screened regularly for cancer – Women over 30, men who are gay or bisexual, and those persons who are HIV positive, should be particularly vigilant about regular screening for HPV-related health issues, including cervical cancer and other STDs.