Human Papillomavirus–the bad, the ugly, and the misunderstood

Chicago Now

Jane of all Trades

June 10, 2010

What is it: HPV, or human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted infection.

How common: HPV is extremely common–75 percent of all women will eventually come in contact with this virus. But the good news is that most of those cases will clear up by themselves in as little as two years.

How/Where can you get HPV: Women’s Health reports:

“HPV is spread by skin-to-skin contact with an HPV-infected area. Infections can be subclinical, meaning the virus lives in the skin without causing symptoms. This is why many people with HPV do not know they have it or that they could spread it. It can take weeks, months or years for genital warts to surface after sexual relations with an infected person.

Researchers already know that condoms don’t always protect against the virus because warts can grow on areas of the genitals not covered by a latex barrier. A study in Great Britain, for example, found evidence that HPV may be transmitted from one’s hands to a partner’s genitals. Consequently, some lawmakers are pushing for better labeling of condoms so the public knows that no barrier contraceptive method can completely safeguard against the virus.”

Worse yet, “Researchers don’t know whether people infected with genital HPV but who don’t have symptoms are as contagious as people with symptoms. They also don’t know how much HPV is transmitted through sexual contact versus skin-to-skin contact.”

……..Bottom line:

Mothers–turning a blind eye to your daughter’s sexual health could be deadly. This shot does not mean that you’re daughter is slutting around. At some point, they will become sexually active (unless they join a nunnery). So while it may be an unpleasant conversation–it could save your daughter’s life.

Girls–I know some of my friends were uncomfortable talking to their mother’s about getting the vaccine. The vaccine does not mean that you’re a slut. Instead, it shows that you’re taking a proactive stance for your sexual health.

Please note–I have no affiliation with Gardasil.



Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.