What is HPV?
HPV stands for human papillomavirus. It is a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that affects people of all genders and sexual orientations. There are many different types of HPV, and while some types do not cause any symptoms or health problems, other types can lead to serious conditions such as cervical cancer, anal cancer, and genital warts.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 80% of sexually active people will contract HPV at some point in their lives. HPV is spread through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
The best way to prevent HPV is to get vaccinated. The HPV vaccine (Gardasil vaccine) is recommended for people of all genders, starting around age 11 or 12. The vaccine is most effective when given to someone before they are exposed to the virus, for this reason, it is recommended to have before you become sexually active.
HPV is the most common cause of cervical cancer. While the HPV vaccine has helped reduce cervical cancer rates, regular and on time cervical screenings are critical to find out whether you have been exposed to a cancerous form of the HPV virus.