In recent years, there has been a significant change in the way cervical screenings are conducted. Today, this is having a big impact on women’s lives. The shift is due to a new approach that tests for the human papillomavirus (HPV). As many know, HPV is responsible for virtually all cases of cervical cancer. This new approach to testing, known as HPV primary screening, aims at identifying women who are most at risk of developing cervical cancer. It also involves testing for high-risk strains of HPV before looking for cervical cell changes.
While this change is a significant step forward in terms of identifying those who are most at risk of developing cervical cancer, it also means that more women are being positively diagnosed with HPV. Unfortunately, this news can be scary and confusing. As a result, a lot of women might feel anxious and embarrassed.
The Misconceptions about HPV
One of the biggest misconceptions about HPV is that it is only transmitted through sexual contact with multiple partners. In reality, HPV is a very common virus that you can contract through any kind of skin-to-skin contact in the genital area. This means that even if you have only had one sexual partner, you can still be at risk of catching HPV.
Moreover, the virus is often asymptomatic, meaning that it can be present in the body for many years without causing any noticeable symptoms. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to get regular cervical screenings, as these tests can help to identify the virus before it has a chance to cause any serious health problems.
Despite the prevalence of HPV, many women feel ashamed when they get diagnosed with the virus. In fact, researchers found that more than half of women would suspect their partner of being unfaithful if they get the diagnosis of HPV. Additionally, 20% of these women said they would feel embarrassed and 10% said they would feel dirty.
HPV Is No Longer a Stigma!
It is important to note, however, that having HPV is not a reflection of a person’s sexual behavior or morality. As we just mentioned, the virus can get transmitted through any kind of skin-to-skin contact in the genital area. It is not uncommon for people to contract the virus without even knowing it.
If you get the diagnosis of high-risk HPV, your management plan will follow one of two ways. Initially, those with cervical cell changes will be referred for further treatment. This may include a colposcopy and a procedure called large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ) to remove abnormal cells.
Conversely, if you have high-risk HPV but do not have cell changes, you doctor will schedule annual screening appointments to monitor the virus and ensure that your body is clearing it.
Most cases of HPV do not lead to cervical cancer. In fact, while the virus is very common, the risk of developing cancer is very low. Regular cervical screenings are the best way to detect the virus early and ensure that it does not progress into a more serious health problem.
Overall, the new approach to cervical screening is a positive step forward in the fight against cervical cancer. By identifying those who are most at risk of developing the disease, healthcare providers can provide targeted support and treatment to ensure that women receive the care they need.
However, it is also important to remember that an HPV diagnosis is not a cause for shame or embarrassment. Rather, it is an opportunity to take proactive steps to protect your health and well-being.