The Papillomavirus HPV is one of the most widespread STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) in the US and most likely in the world as well. Recent studies show that the number of people affected by this virus in the US alone could be anywhere between 15 to 20 million, which is huge by any standards.
Some other studies point to the fact that more than 80 per cent of women will contract this disease before they reach 50 years of age. This virus is also one of the main factors in the development of cervical cancer, a disease which is almost always fatal.
There are more than one hundred strains of the human Papillomavirus HPV, most of them non-cancerous. About 30 of these are contracted through sexual contact. It has been observed that any adult who has had more than one sexual partner, or has had intimate relationships with a partner who has had sex with more than one person, is a candidate for contacting this virus.
Genital warts are one of the most visible indicators that you have been infected with the virus, which unfortunately often develops after a long incubation period, during which time neither you (as the infected person) nor your partner would know about the virus HPV, yet it could still be easily passed on through sex.
Having an annual pap smear is a very simple way to find out if you have contracted the Papillomavirus HPV. The physician will run simple tests that will allow them to find out if you are affected. Because this virus can lead to cervical cancer, having this test done yearly to check for traces of the HPV virus is very important. Cervical cancer, unfortunately, takes the lives of a large amount of women every year. Because this is so, safe sex practices and having regular pap smears will help you to fight this form of the HPV virus.
Papillomavirus HPV can now be fought with an HPV vaccination. The vaccine is normally given to young girls, before they become sexually active, which is usually between the ages of 9 to 13.
This vaccine is known to stop the virus, which means that women will be less affected by cervical cancer caused by the HPV strain and also vaginal warts. While it is not known whether or not this vaccine can help men in the same way that it is able to help women, there are being more tests being conducted to find out.