The human papilloma virus (HPV) is a common infection among men and women that is transmitted by sexual contact. Most people who are sexually active will get human papilloma virus at some point in their life. Most of those infected with the virus do not develop any symptoms or health problems at all.
There are more than 40 strains of human papilloma virus (HPV) that are transmitted by sexual contact. Certain strains of the virus may cause cervical cancer, penile cancer, testicular cancer, rectal cancer, and genital warts. The strains that cause genital warts are non-cancerous and are different from the strains that cause cancer.
How do you get HPV?
HPV is transmitted through contact of the skin and mucosa of the genitalia, usually through vaginal or anal penetration, through friction between the genitalia, and through oral sex. Since the virus usually does not have any symptoms, most of us can infect other people without even knowing it.
Is there a vaccine against HPV?
Yes, the vaccine prevents the development of cancer that can be caused by the virus. There are two components to the vaccine – one is directed against the main strains that cause cervical cancer and the other protects against cervical cancer and against the main strains that cause warts.
There is also a vaccine for men that is administered in the Levinsky Clinic.
What else can be done to prevent becoming infected with HPV?
Using condoms (if used for any sexual act from start to finish) significantly reduces the risk of contracting the virus.
Form as a quote: "For women who have sex with men who always use a condom, the risk of getting HPV is approximately 70% lower than that of women who have sex with men who do not regularly use a condom."
.Form as a quote: "Since HPV may be transmitted by sexual contact that does not include penetration, it is not surprising that cases of transmission were lower in women who reported regular use of condoms. In addition, the research indicates that regular use of condoms provides the best protection against different strains of HPV: both for strains that constitute high risk and low risk. "
From: The New England Journal of Medicine, 354
What tests detect HPV?
For women, a pap smear, which is a vaginal smear performed by a gynecologist.
For men, a smear.
The tests can be performed at the Levinsky Center, free and anonymously, similar to other tests and services offered there.
Is there treatment or medication for HPV?
There is no treatment or medication for the virus itself, but there are ways to treat health problems that the virus can cause. It is possible to treat warts with medication, surgical removal or freezing. Nevertheless, warts can reappear even after they are removed, thus at times there may be a need to repeat the treatment. It is important to remember that treating the warts themselves does not prevent transmission to your partners. Whether the warts disappear on their own, remain the same size, or become larger, they will not become cancerous.
Is there a relationship between the number of my partners and HPV?
If you have multiple partners, the risk of getting infected increases. However, you can also get infected if you only have one partner if he/she has had it in the past. The only way to not get infected is to not have sex at all.
I discovered that I have genital warts. What should I do?
Warts do not constitute a health risk. Since your sexual partners can contract genital warts from you, it is important to let them know that you have them and abstain from sexual activity until the warts disappear or are removed. In addition, you should get tested for additional sexually transmitted diseases. If your partner has genital warts you should also abstain from having sex with them until the warts disappear or are removed.
Cancer in the female reproductive system – Israeli Cancer Association
Cancer in the male reproductive system – Israeli Cancer Association
Vaccines against cervical cancer from HPV – Department of Health
HPV and men – American Health Association to Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases.