What are your chances of catching HPV?

Published: 21st January 2009
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If you are sexually active, you're probably going to catch some strain of HPV.

It is estimated that somewhere around half of all sexually active people are actually walking around with genital HPV right now, while most people will contract HPV at some point in their lives.

That's the bad news. The good news is that it's usually not that big of a deal.

HPV isn't just genital HPV, and even when it is genital HPV, it's only the rarer forms of HPV which can lead to cancer, and those strains do not show themselves in the form of genital warts.

HPV includes common warts (hand warts), plantar warts, elbow warts, flat warts, and even some strains that don't even cause any visible signs or lead to further health complications.

Most children will contract hand warts at some point in their early lives. Hand warts are uncomfortable and ugly, but they won't lead to cancer, they're easily treated, and 90% of the time, they clear up in a few weeks with or without treatment.

While they may cause unsightly and uncomfortable warts, most forms of HPV are relatively benign, and do not pose any serious health risks. The problem is that there are strains of HPV that can lead to cervical cancer, and that these strains usually cannot be spotted without a pap smear.

Tens of thousands of women die every year thanks to genital HPV leading to cervical cancer. The vast majority of people who contract HPV may wind up okay. Again, HPV only rarely leads to cancer. However, the risk is very real. You're more likely to catch a cancer-causing strain of HPV than you are to get struck by lightning, so if you don't stand under trees during a storm, don't have sex without either using protection, or having STD tests done for both partners.

Luckily, there is an HPV vaccine available that can help prevent contracting cancer causing strains of the virus. The vaccine has been shown to be most effective when administered around the age of puberty, and is definitely worth looking into for either yourself, or any young women in your family. Yes, that may seem like an awkward subject to bring up, but let's forget about that for a minute and face the facts: Some forty thousand women die of HPV related cancer every year. We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand.

So to sum all of the above up into a list of "just the HPV facts"...

You have a very strong chance of contracting HPV in your lifetime. Your odds for catching a life threatening strain of HPV are slim, but the possibility is very real, nonetheless. Contracting HPV can only be prevented by the vaccine, using condoms, and/or having STD tests conducted on yourself and your sex partner.

The chance of catching HPV is very real, but you can significantly reduce the risk by practicing safe sex. You can strengthen your immune system against HPV and genital warts infections by eating properly and exercising. Basically, just be careful, live a healthy lifestyle, and you should be relatively safe.

HPV Health is dedicated to bringing you the most current information on HPV. We are dedicated to helping you. For more information on symptoms and treatments visit HPV.

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