It is commonly known that the human papillomavirus (HPV) is spread from human to human, typically though some kind of sexual contact. What is not commonly known is that the virus attaches itself to the mid-
According the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “all women who have ever had sex are at risk for HPV and cervical cancer.” What can be confusing is that most of what we hear and read is that HPV is passed on from human to human. Therefore it is easy to read the statement above, and not realize what it is actually saying: that women are at risk for HPV; not men; not all humans, but “women”. It may or may not be true that HPV is spread by both sexes, however, if it is true, this would most likely be because once a female contracts HPV from a male, she can then pass it on to someone else; primarily by touching someone with the unwashed hands she used to touch a male during sexual activity.
Touching a male who has managed to extract the virus from his person and onto his hands or other body parts, makes it easy for him to transfer the virus onto others through touching that body part to someone else’s body. Once the virus is on the skin of both males and females, each can easily pass it on to another human. Because males carry the virus, they are mostly unaffected by it. This may be primarily because there are billions of males in the world and only about 100 different types of HPV. Therefore, the likelihood that a male would come into contact with a female or another male carrying a strain of the virus that he does not already have, is slim. The likelihood of a male coming into contact with a strain that causes disease is even less likely; but of course, it does happen; very rarely.
Females, on the other hand, are at much greater risk. The HPV is foreign to their bodies, and appears to enter only after sexual contact, or skin to skin contact; that is, if they touch or are touched by someone who was recently sexually active, and still has the live virus on their person. If they come into contact with a disease-
So how can you avoid HPV? If you are a male, chances are, you were born with it. As for females, unless you are willing to remain a virgin your entire life, you can’t avoid HPV altogether, if you ever intend to have sex with a male. But you can greatly reduce the possibility of developing cervical cancer as a result of an HPV infection, by simply waiting until your body’s immune system is strong enough to kill the virus. A healthy, fully developed immune system is more than capable of killing HPV naturally, and on its own; without the unnecessary risks associated with injections or medications. According to the CDC, having sex too early in life; before the immune system is developed enough, puts women at great risk for a number of cancers caused by HPV.
For more information, including the CDC’s recommended age for first-
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Human Papilloma Virus. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/hpv.pdf
The Truth About Sex & HPV
By Donna R. Turner, MPH, CHES