There’s been quite a bit of news about the Human papillomavirus (HPV) virus over the past few years, and many women are becoming aware that the virus can lead to cervical cancer. Even children are not safe from this disease which is very easy to spread.
HPV, or genital warts, has been labeled the number 1 killer of women world-wide. Statistically, condoms aren’t as preventative as once hoped, and doctors and researchers have found them to be only 60% effective. There’s even a vaccine to prevent HPV infections, even though there have been alleged cases in which people contracted the disease from the vaccine alone.
One misconception about the HPV virus, however, is that once exposed to it, breakouts are only found in the genital area. Apparently, that’s not so. In some cases HPV outbreaks can take over entire torsos, legs or arms and hands. So, not only is it deadly, it’s just plain horrifying to look at and difficult to hide, which makes the tragic situation of contracting the disease far worse.
As far as the disease’s wide scope and deadliness, some prominent scientists and physicians are saying it’s even worse than HIV:
“This might be a lot worse than AIDS in the short run because the bacteria is more aggressive and will affect more people quickly,” says Alan Christiansen, a doctor of naturopathic medicine.
It’s a sexist disease too. Men get it, but rarely compared with women. And when they do contract the virus, the long-term effects aren’t deadly as they are for females. As for the hard stats: fewer than five per cent of males get it from women. There are more than 100 types of HPV and about 13 of these are cancer causing, with HPV types 16 and 18 causing approximately 70 per cent of all cervical cancers worldwide.
Unfortunately, men can transmit the virus without showing any symptoms or warts anywhere on the body, not even the genital area.
The scariest part of the HPV virus is that you do not need to have intercourse for it to be passed on from one person to another. So even abstinence is proving to be futile! You can get infected with HPV through kissing or touching an infected area (such as a hand!) or through oral sex. Doctors are now beginning to push for children to get the vaccine to prevent later problems.