Most people with an HPV infection don’t experience any symptoms or severe health conditions. However, do everything you can to prevent contracting and transmitting the virus to ensure other people remain safe.
Here are 6 quick tips to help you get started.
1) Receive the HPV Vaccine
Young people between 11 and 26 should get vaccinated to protect themselves against high-risk HPV strains that cause cancer and genital warts. The Centers for Disease Control says younger preteen children should get the HPV vaccination before entering their sexually active teenage and adult years. But if you are already an unvaccinated teenager or young adult, get vaccinated immediately.
Unvaccinated male and female adults between 26 and 45 are still eligible to receive the vaccine. The only problem is that it may not be effective if you have already contracted HPV at some point in the past. Talk with your doctor for more information about this.
2) Don’t Have Sex With Someone New Until You Get an HPV Test
You and your new potential sexual partner should get tested before having sex together. If you or your partner has a sexually transmitted infection like HPV, you will understand the risk levels involved in having sex. Then you can make a more educated decision about whether sex is a good idea or not.
3) Wear Protection
At least one partner should wear dental dams and condoms for added protection against potentially harmful sexually transmitted infections like HPV.
4) Genital Warts = No Sex
If you or your partner have a visible outbreak of genital warts, you should avoid sex until the warts are gone. The immune system in most people will take care of it.
5) Stimulate Your Immune System
The HPV vaccine alone isn’t enough to sustain a healthy immune system against HPV. You also need to engage in lifestyle changes to strengthen your immune system. Then your immune system can eradicate an HPV infection when the time comes.
The best ways to boost an immune system are to exercise regularly, avoid smoking, limit alcohol intake, and maintain a nutritious diet with low sugars and saturated fats. In addition, find healthy ways to boost your immune system like taking high quality HPV vitamins that will make your body stronger and more capable of fighting infections.
6) Keep Up with Your Testing
Doctors recommend women between 21 and 29 get pap smears (pap tests) once every three years. Pap smears are cervical cancer screening tests to look for traces of abnormalities in the cervical cells.
As for women between 30 and 65, doctors recommend they get a pap test and HPV test every five years simultaneously. These tests can discover traces of high-risk HPV strains and cervical cell growth abnormalities before cervical cancer forms. But if you already have an early stage of cervical cancer, both tests can still help doctors diagnose the severity of the cancer to find the best treatment possible.
The Risk Factors of Contracting HPV
Understanding the risk factors associated with HPV can help you avoid contracting it. These risk factors include sexual activity, failure to use protection, sex with several different people, failure to get vaccinated early, and a weak immune system.
Some people may have a health condition or another virus like HIV that has weakened their immune systems. In this case, you’ll need to focus on improving the health of your immune system before getting HPV.
Many people are guilty of committing at least one risk factor. That would explain why HPV is one of the leading sexually transmitted infections in the world.