Living Healthily With Human Papillomavirus: Steps for Safer Sex

Vanessa Cullins, MD, MPH, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, hints that most sexually active men and women will be infected by the human papillomavirus (HPV), but not many of them will know as the disease is mainly asymptomatic. This is so in the case of human papillomavirus infection because the virus that causes it, is able to silence any infection-trigger by the immune system.

HPV infection is a viral infection that commonly causes skin or mucous membrane growths (warts). Therefore, if you are aware you have contracted this viral infection, you must be ready to practice safer sex and reduce the risk of infecting your partner. Below are steps you could consider.

How to minimize your risk of human papillomavirus infection and transmission

Use Condoms When Having Sex

Human papillomavirus is spread by direct contact with an infected person and this is mainly through sex. Hence, you can reduce the risk of spreading or contracting it if you use condoms every time you have sex — from start to finish. Although a consistent use of condoms is effective, it may not completely reduce your risk for HPV transmission. You should therefore use condoms or dental dams for vaginal, oral, or anal sex, and never reuse condoms.

Get regular medical and dental checkups

It recommended that women in particular, should engage in Pap tests in order to get screened for early signs of cervical cancer which may be an indicator of human papillomavirus infection. For Pap tests and HPV tests, experts advise you do so every three years and five years respectively.

Get vaccinated and encourage your partner to also do same

Health regulatory bodes have stipulated that boys and girls get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12, something they describe as pivotal in their quest to combat the sexually transmitted strains of the human papillomavirus in young adults. Aside the stipulated age range, anyone who is 26 or younger can also get vaccinated.

The vaccine which is currently in use is Gardasil 9, a type that protects against the two HPV strains that cause most genital warts, types 6 and 11, as well as against seven cancer-causing types of HPV, including HPV types 16 and 18.

Practice Good Genital Hygiene

After having sex, you must make it a habit to perform good genital hygiene like urinating to rinse any germs from your urethra, and washing your genitals with soap and water. By doing this, you can wash away bacteria or viruses before they have time to infect you.

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