WE often hear about HPV, the most common sexually transmitted disease, but most of us don’t really know its meaning or origin. One thing is sure though, it’s different from the widely known and much deadlier Human Immunodeficiency Virus that causes the dreaded acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS.
HPV or the human papilloma virus belongs to a group of over 100 types of virus that infect the human skin and mucus membranes. Most people with HPV have never known they were infected and for they never develop any problem, sign or symptoms related to the infection, which usually goes away on its own.
HPV infection is so common that it is estimated that most sexually active men and women get the infection at some point in their lives.
However, certain types of HPVs may cause health problems in some people.
For example, some HPV types cause genital warts and cervical cancers, while others cause typical skin warts. Fortunately, not every HPV infection results in health problems. Cancers caused by HPV typically take many years, even decades, to develop.
Studies show that the world’s population increase and the easy, free and open access to “sex sites” make everyone, especially the youth, vulnerable to different STDs, including HPV infection. Most people are ignorant of the fact that many fatal disease, including HPV infection, could be acquired from sexual intercourse thus they continue with their sexual habits. This is why we often hear people of age carelessly say “banat lang ng banat” without thinking of the consequences of their action.
IS HPV CONTAGIOUS?
Yes, HPV is highly contagious.
Don’t ignore the common warts on the skin or soles of the feet. Why? Because contact with warts may spread the HPV infection. Genital warts are also contagious. HPV can be spread from person-to-person even when the infected person does not have any signs of symptoms.
Sufficient knowledge about this kind of disease and health issue can help all of us avoid this disease. Knowledge could teach us how to protect ourselves.
HOW IS HPV ACQUIRED?
HPV can easily infect a person right after the onset of sexual activity. Moreover, it was established that some cervical cancer are caused by sexually acquired infection with certain types of HPV.
Another bad news is that HPV can be transmitted even without having a sexual intercourse. Yes, the virus can be acquired by simply doing a French kiss because it can also happen that the HPV is silently present in the mouth.
In short, any person who has been known to be sexually active can acquire HPV as the virus is mainly transmitted through sexual contact or having vaginal, anal or even oral sex with someone who is infected with it.
IS THERE CURE FOR HPV?
Sad to say there is no cure yet for the HPV virus. There are however, several things one can do to help the body clear the virus and lower the chances of it persisting and eventually turning into cancer.
Medical experts’ primary advice is to avoid smoking and to avoid oral contraceptives. They were found to be increasing the risk of HPV transmission.
Although testing positive for the virus does not automatically mean, one will get cancer, some studies estimate that 50 percent of those infected with HPV will clear the virus within eight months while 90 percent will be cured within two years.
It is when the immune system fails to fight off the infection that some strains of HPV can persist and probably lead to cancer. Thus it is important that we strengthen or boost our immune system.
For women, getting regular screenings and pap tests are important for early detection. Sadly, there is no HPV test for men. But men and women can lower their risk of HPV by getting vaccinated.
HPV ‘NATURAL’ TREATMENT
Most cases of genital warts go away on their own. Although there is no cure for the HPV infection, doctors treat it with antiviral drugs, topical medications or minor surgery to alleviate the inconvenience it causes.
Experts have found some “natural” cure for HPV.
First and foremost is through dieting. Have a wart-removing diet especially those with lots of vitamin C, probiotic foods, garlic, high selenium foods, goat’s milk kefir and coconut kefir; ingestion or application of antiviral herbs to boost the immune system and inhibit viruses. Antiviral herbs can be consumed as herbal teas, infusions or herbal-infused oils.
Another natural treatment for HPV is the use of essential oils like tea tree oil and thuja oil. For those already with genital warts, these oils are homemade wart removers.
BEST WAYS TO PREVENT HPV
Since there is no HPV cure, prevention is still the best option.
Abstaining from sex is still the foremost natural way of not getting the HPV infection.
The next best thing is to have sex with a monogamous partner and one should avoid having sex with those who have visible signs of HPV. And, although it’s not 100 percent full-proof, proper use of condom can help protect against penile, vaginal and anal HPV infection as well as other STDs.
* If you suspect or feel that you are suffering from an HPV infection immediately consult a doctor.