Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a virus that is quite prevalent in humans. According to current research, approximately 70% of people will have an HPV infection within their lifetime!
HPV Is an extremely contagious disease and can be spread via direct contact with infected mucosa or skin.
Common sites of infection for HPV are the penis, vagina, throat, anus, and genital region. As such the condition is usually spread by sexual contact.
You may be surprised to discover that there are more than 100 different strains of HPV. At least 13 of these strains are considered to be carcinogenic!
As mentioned above, 13 strains are considered to put you at high risk for cancer. Penis and anal cancer are known to be linked to type 16 and 18 of the Human Papilloma Virus. The other HPV strains that are not cancer-causing are considered low risk. HPV 6 and 11 have been known to cause warts. These warts usually appear in the genital area. They are normally cauliflower-shaped; flesh-coloured sometimes darker. This way you know what to look for.
All HPV infections do not result in cancer or warts. Actually, most men who are infected experience no symptoms whatsoever, and their daily lives are unaffected. Unfortunately, they then unwittingly transmit it to their sexual partner. This is one of the reasons why HPV remains so prevalent worldwide.
Sadly, HPV has no cure. There are no creams or medications that kill the HPV virus. Therefore, we have to depend on the body’s immune system to eliminate the virus. You would be happy to know that this occurs most of the time. Research has shown that up to 80% of the persons infected are able to eliminate the virus from their system with a 2-year period. However, if this does not occur, cancer or genital warts may develop.
There are medical tests currently available to screen for signs of cancer and/or pre-cancer lesions that are often found on the anus and are directly linked to HPV.
As such, doctors are able to ascertain who will develop cancer and treat it before it actually develops.
You can also access medical tests that detect high-risk strains of HPV in the anal area. It is also important to note that Type 16 and Type 18 strains may require robust observation and conscientious follow up.
Treatment options would be discussed to prevent the development of cancer.
We recommend that you get vaccinated to protect yourself from HPV infection altogether. Formerly, the HPV vaccine only catered to female patients. However, this is no longer the case. The new HPV vaccine protects against 9 different strains and is indicated for males up to the age of 45.
The newest HPV vaccine protects against many more strains than the original 9. HPV related cancers are only caused by a few identifiable strains. As such the HPV vaccine reduces your risk of acquiring these cancers by more than 90%.
The vaccine can be taken by both men and women. Males can be vaccinated between the ages of 9 to 45 to protect against anal cancer, penile cancer, and genital warts. The vaccine is administered in a course of three injections over a 6-month period. Younger patients only need to take 2 injections.
Do consider getting the HPV vaccine as protection from the Human Papilloma Virus minimizes your risk for certain cancers and genital warts. The choice to be vaccinated will keep both you and your sexual partner safe!
Speak to us further should you have any concerns and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have on the HPV vaccination!