The Most Common STI is Known as Human Papillomavirus
HPV (Human papillomavirus) is the most common sexually transmitted infection and cause of genital warts. Warts are small growths that appear on or near the sex organs. According to the CDC, there are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of males and females. And it is possible to get more than one type of HPV.
Most people do not develop symptoms or health problems from HPV. According to the CDC, 90% of the cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV naturally with in two years. However, symptoms can occur 1-8 months after contact with HPV and they are:
- Small, bumpy warts on the sex organs and anus
- Itching or burning around the sex organs
There is no way to know which people will get HPV and go on to develop cancer or other health problems. Some health problems associated with HPV are: genital warts, cervical cancer, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and head and neck cancers. There is no cure for genital warts, however it can be prevented and/or treated.
The HPV virus can be spread easily. You can get infected, or infect someone, with out even knowing it. Over the counter treatments should not be used. If you suspect genital warts, be sure to see a health care provider. Women should have regular pap tests after becoming sexually active and be sure to ask about testing for HPV at that time.
The safest way to not spread genital warts is to not have sex. Use of a condoms can reduce the risk and can also protect you against other sexually transmitted infections if used correctly and consistently.
Another barrier of protection is a vaccine that protects against some of the most common types of HPV. The HPV vaccine is given in three doses over six months and it is recommended you receive the same vaccine brand for all three doses. The HPV vaccine is available thought the Sexual Health Clinic at the New Britain Health Department, free of charge, up to the age of 26. The clinic is held on Tuesday and Thursdays from 2-3:30pm on a first come, first serve basis.
For more information about HPV, please contact your health care provider, your local or state health department of by visiting the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/hpv.
Are You Sexually Active?
One in two sexually active Americans will get an STI by the time they turn twenty-five? A lot of STIs don’t have symptoms so the only way to know for sure whether you have one is to get tested. Don’t become a statistic, GET YOURSELF TESTED. April is STI awareness month and the New Britain Health Department will have an extended clinic on THURSDAY, April 7, 2011 from 8:30-3:30 p.m. in conjunction with the Get Yourself Tested Day (GYT). No appointment necessary. If you are 13 years of age or older, you can get tested FREE of charge. For more information about a free STI testing, contact the New Britain Health Department, Nursing Division, at 860-826-3464.