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How to Prevent HPV Transmission


How is HPV transmitted?

  • Skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Sexual penetration is not needed to be infected; any sexual or genital contact with an HPV carrier has the risk of infection.

  • Through vaginal, anal or oral sexual intercourse. Wearing a condom only offers partial protection.

  • Kissing someone who has given oral sex to an infected person.

  • In very rare cases, an infected mother can pass the virus to her baby during a vaginal delivery.

Who is most at risk of being infected with HPV?

  • Everyone who is sexually active whether they have intercourse or not.

  • Men and women who start having sex at an early age.

  • Men and women up to the age of 26 to 30. The incidence of new HPV infections diminishes with age.

  • People who practise unprotected sex. It has been shown that always using a condom reduces the risk of HPV infection by up to 70%.

  • People who have multiple sexual partners or regular one night stands.
How do you prevent HPV transmission?

The only way to be absolutely certain you will never get infected with HPV is to avoid all sexual contact, but as most people agree that this is very unrealistic, let's look at some ways to reduce the risk of you being infected.

  • Avoid one night stands.

  • Avoid having multiple sexual partners. A monogamous couple greatly reduces their risk of HPV infection; however, your one partner might have had multiple partners before you came along. Even if one or both of the monogamous couple have a strain of HPV, they are not at risk of getting another, possibly more dangerous, strain.

  • Smoking and consuming alcohol regularly increase your risk of getting HPV, so quit.

  • Stress weakens your immune system so learn ways to deal with stressful situations and take regular time-out for relaxation.

  • Female condoms offer better HPV protection than male condoms.

  • The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls aged 9 to 12, before they become sexually active. Even older women may get some protection from the vaccine, provided they have not already been infected with the HPV strains the vaccine targets. Not all HPV strains are targeted by the vaccine, just the ones that can lead to cervical and other genital cancers. One brand also protects against genital warts, though these do not lead to cancer. An HPV vaccine for men is still being developed.

  • Strengthen your immune system so that it is better able to deal with viral infections, including HPV. Eat a nutritionally-balanced diet, focusing on fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat, low fat dairy, whole grains, seeds, nuts and legumes. Get sufficient sleeps and R and R. Get regular exercise – 30 minutes on most day of the week is a good start. Avoid or limit fast food, processed food and sugary foods.

  • Education on the subject of HPV and how it is transmitted is vital, especially for teens who are just starting out on their sexual journeys. Understanding how the virus is spread and eliminating the old wives tales and taboos around the subject will help to prepare young people, helping them reduce the risk of HPV infection.
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