HPV, otherwise known as human papillomavirus, is a likely the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, and maybe elsewhere too. By the age of 50 more than 80% of American women will have contracted at least one strain of HPV. Given this scenario and the recent scare that vaccines for HPV will cause teenage girls to jump out of windows on top of boys for sex, I decided to write this article.
One need not worry about HPV as long one is not promiscuous
Even technical virgins can get HPV, so long as the genitals touch, there doesn't need to be any penetration at all. As I stated at the beginning of this article, by the age of 50, more than 80% of American women have at least one strain of HPV, this means the chance of getting it are horribly likely. Get vaccinated and continue to practice safe sex.
I don't want to get my daughter vaccinated because it will tell her that there's nothing to fear and she can have as much sex as she wants.
Give me a break. This excuse is used by everyone who's afraid to recognize that teenagers engage in sexual activity. If not having an HPV vaccine was supposed to keep girls from having sex, we wouldn't have had 1 million teenage pregnancies in the US every year prior to it. The reality is that one could potentially save his or her daughter's life by getting them the vaccine in their pre-teen years.
Don't worry, there are still plenty of STDs that one can use to scare a young girl with. Consider one fact: prior to the release of Gardasil, almost no Americans knew or talked about HPV, and was the sexual playground any different for teenagers? Not really, so stop being stupid.
There's no reason to get Pap smears if one's been vaccinated
Even if a woman has been vaccinated she should still get regular Pap smears. The vaccine is intended to help prevent HPV, but not replace a regular Pap smear. As Gardasil only protects against two strains that cause cervical cancer, it's important to watch out for other strains that may cause cervical cancer.
Condoms protect against HPV
Condoms do help protect against HPV, however since condoms only cover the skin of the penis and HPV sheds all over the genital region, including testicles, there's still a mild risk in contracting HPV. Condoms, however, should always be used, whether it's for oral, anal, or vaginal sex, because they can protect one against even more immediately dangerous diseases.
Men know if they have HPV, and if they don't say anything they're just hiding it from you.
Most men who have HPV have never had any signs or symptoms (i.e. genital warts) and do not realize they have the disease. If a HPV vaccine is available for men, it should be used.
HPV will go away on its own, so I don't need to be treated for it.
HPV can go away on its own, however it may not, and it can lead to cervical cancer. Regular Pap smears are the best way to help prevent cervical cancer.
One cannot get HPV from oral sex
While it's true that the odds of getting HPV from oral sex are extremely low, one can still get a lot of other diseases from oral sex, so one should use a condom every time, even for oral, anal, and vaginal sex. There is some immerging research to suggest that HPV infections of the mouth may increase risks of oral cancers later in life. Use a condom every time.
Lesbians cannot get HPV
Totally untrue. It's still possible to spread HPV via genital-to-genital contact, especially during the "scissor sisters" position. Use a dam every time.
Scissor me timbers!
Genital warts are caused by herpes
Actually they're caused by HPV.
Once warts are treated, they are no longer contagious
While not 100% known, the general consensus is that one should still be careful of spreading HPV after having warts treated. So be safe.
Cervical cancer can be treated, there's no reason to get vaccinated
While cervical cancer is preventable in most cases, there are high risks types of HPV that can be even more dangerous. For the first time in history we can effectively lower the chances of getting cancer, so why the hell not get vaccinated? Don't be stupid.
Regular Pap smears will protect against cervical cancer
Even a regular Pap smear is only accurate between 50% and 85% of the time, one should get vaccinated for HPV to significantly lower the chances against getting cervical cancer.
If one gets HPV one will get cervical cancer
HPV is very common in the US, but cervical cancer is not as common. Most HPV infections disappear within a couple of years, but in that time they're very easy to pass on to other partners, and it's actually possible to be infected with more than one strain at a time. Get vaccinated, use a condom every time, and get regular Pap smears.