World HPV Day: Take precautions today, stay healthy later

World HPV Day: Take precautions today, stay healthy later

In addition to HIV, human papilloma viruses are among the most common sexually transmitted virus infections worldwide. As World HPV Day, March 4 is intended to draw attention to the risks of the virus.

With the spread of the HP virus, the probability of becoming infected during the first sexual contact also increases significantly. Early vaccination protects young people in particular against the late effects of the HP virus, which even  include cancer  .

Even the smallest amounts of virus-containing body fluids or tiny skin flakes are sufficient for an infection with HP viruses if they come into contact with mucous membranes and injured skin. With close physical contact and sexual intercourse, HP viruses can be passed on despite condoms.  That is why young people in particular should be vaccinated against  HPV before their first sexual contact.

HP viruses as a cause of diseases

A total of over 200 types of the HP virus are known. Of these, only a few high-risk types can lead to cancer. An infection therefore does not automatically mean a secondary disease. An HPV infection often goes unnoticed and usually heals on its own within two years. However, if the infection persists, this can lead to changes in the cells, which over time develop into cancer.

When infected with risky HP viruses, the following cancers can occur in men:

  • Cancer in the oral cavity (oral cavity carcinoma)
  • Analkrebs (Analkarzinom)
  • Peniskrebs (Peniskarzinom)

Risky HP viruses can also result in cancer in women:

  • oral cavity carcinoma
  • Analkarzinom
  • Cancer of the cervix  (cervical carcinoma)
  • Vulvakrebs (Vulvakarzinom)
  • Vaginal cancer (vaginal carcinoma)

HP viruses can also  cause genital warts  or genital warts. These are lentil-sized thickenings of the skin, which first appear isolated and then arranged in a bed-like manner. They are mostly found in the genital and/or anal area and cause severe  itching . Genital warts are also contagious.

HPV vaccination in adolescents

Early  HPV vaccination  in particular can protect against human papilloma virus infections. Girls and boys between the ages of nine and 14 usually receive two individual vaccinations five to 13 months apart. If the interval is shorter, a third vaccination dose should also be administered.

From the age of 15, young people receive three individual vaccinations. Depending on the vaccine, these take place according to the two schemes 0-1-6 months or 0-2-6 months.

HPV vaccination also possible for adults

HPV vaccination makes sense for adults who have not yet had sexual intercourse. This should be clarified with the responsible doctor. Some health insurance companies also cover the HPV vaccination for adults by arrangement.

HPV vaccination side effects

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), no serious side effects have occurred in children and adolescents from more than 270 million vaccinations to date. Severe side effects are defined as those that have a lasting impact on health.

Similar to other vaccinations, however, the typical side effects can occur:

  • Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • exhaustion

Since the body already briefly overexerts itself during a vaccination, it is also recommended to avoid physical activity on the day of the vaccination.

The HPV vaccination is recommended for boys and girls and reduces the risk of developing cancer or its precursors. In addition, an HPV vaccination not only protects the vaccinated person, but also their sexual partner.

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