For many years researchers didn’t know what caused such diseases as oral cancer, throat cancer, cervical cancer, genital warts, and cancer of the penis, but now it appears that one large group of viruses is at the root of many of these afflictions. They’re all part of a family called the HPV, or human papilloma viruses, of which there appears to be many. Plenty of doctors and scientists had theorized that there were viruses at the root of all these diseases and more but they hadn’t found proof as of yet. Now, while they are still discovering more, it looks like there are about 100 different kinds of HPV viruses.
The current study shows that the HPV vaccines protect for up to six years. More clinical studies are needed to see how long the people remain immune.
Currently, it is approved for adults up to age 45.
The vaccine is extremely safe. So far, people that took the HPV vaccine do not display any signs of side effects.
Currently, HPV is not curable.
But enough of them do that they are highly suspected in many other types of cancers, warts, and other growths. Many of these are transmitted through sexual contact but not all and they can be passed by close physical contact instead. For the most part, people that have them are totally unaware of their infection and they have no symptoms to speak of. It has been estimated that about 50% of all adults have one form or another of human papillomavirus. Sometimes there are symptoms, such as a wart on the hands, feet, genitals, or anus, but it clears up after a few months or years and never returns.
In fact, there are so many different kinds of viruses in this family that are being found that most of them are just given numbers such as human papillomavirus 6, or 11, or 18 rather than giving each one its own name. There are tests for some of them, like the one that leads to cervical cancer, but not all of them, so it’s best to get the vaccine that is now available to protect against as many as possible.
Once a person has contracted the virus the vaccine will have no effect on the disease so it must be taken at a young age in order to make sure that there are no prior infections for it to work. Most doctors are recommending that teenagers of about 14 years get the vaccine before they become sexually active. At first, it was strongly recommended for only females but now many doctors are also recommending the vaccine for young males as well.
The main two reasons for vaccinating males too is that they also can contract cancer of the throat, tongue, gums, penis, and anus from the virus, plus they can be carriers that infect females too. With vaccines, the higher the percentage of the population that is vaccinated, the better chance there is to take control of a disease.
If you are worried about getting HPV in any of its forms, by all means get the vaccination soon. Even if you’ve already been infected with one or two of the strains, you still may prevent a future infection by another strain that could prevent problems in the future.