Get vaccinated against HPV. HPV vaccines are safe and effective. Prevention is better than treatment. Get your girls and your boys vaccinated at 11 or 12, or as soon as possible if they're already 13 or older. HPV vaccine produces a higher immune response in preteens than in older teens and young adults.
What is HPV?HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI).Nearly all sexually active men and women will get HPV at some point in their lives. HPV vaccines can protect males and females against diseases (including cancers) caused by HPV when given in the recommended age groups. HPV vaccines are given in three shots over six months; it is important to get all three doses, long before being exposed to HPV.
Health care providers classify HPV as low risk and high risk.
-----Low-risk HPV infections usually cause genital warts. Genital warts may appear as flat lesions, small cauliflower-like bumps or otherwise.
Most people with HPV do not know they are infected and never develop symptoms or health problems from it. Some people find out they have HPV when they get genital warts. In most cases, your body's immune system defeats an HPV infection before it has a chance to create any warts.
------High Risk Strains: Strains of HPV classified as "high risk" are associated with both mild and severe cervical abnormalities found on a Pap test. When left untreated for several years, these abnormalities could develop into cervical cancer. Less frequently, high risk strains can cause atypical genital warts that can have precancerous and cancerous changes within them
HPV can lie dormant for many years before causing cancerous changes to the cervix. It is important that women continue to get regular Pap smears throughout their lifetimes. No woman should ever have to die of cervical cancer. Regular Pap smears can detect HPV-induced changes to the cervix early, when they are still very treatable.
Engaging in high risk sexual behavior increases your risk of contracting both high and low risk strains of HPV.
You can be infected with more than one strain of HPV . An infected person can be a carrier of several strains of HPV concurrently. The good news is that for most people, both high and low risk HPV infections clear up without medical intervention.