HPV: Learn About the Causes, Risks and Prevention of this Common Virus

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What is HPV?

Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, is a very common virus that affects both men and women. HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact, usually through sexual intercourse. It is very contagious and can cause a variety of health problems if not treated. Some kinds of HPV can cause genital warts and can lead to cervical cancer in women.

Causes and Risks of HPV

HPV is spread through sexual contact with someone who has the virus, even if they have no symptoms. It is estimated that at least 80% of sexually active people have been exposed to HPV at some point in their lives. HPV infections are usually asymptomatic, which means that a person may not know they have it.

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Prevention

The best way to prevent HPV is to practice safe sex by using condoms and getting vaccinated. The HPV vaccine is recommended for all people aged 9-26 and is especially important for people who are sexually active. The vaccine can protect against several types of HPV, including the ones that are most likely to cause cervical cancer.

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It is also important to get regular checkups if you are sexually active. Regular Pap tests can help detect any abnormal changes in cells that may indicate the presence of HPV. A Pap test is recommended for any woman who is or could become sexually active, and it is recommended for men if they are at risk for HPV.

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Takeaway

HPV is a very common virus that can cause serious health problems if left untreated. The best way to prevent HPV is to practice safe sex, get vaccinated, and get regular screenings. While HPV can be an uncomfortable subject to talk about, being informed and taking the necessary steps can help protect your health.

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