The human papilloma virus (HPV) is a relatively common sexually transmitted infection. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list it as the most common STD. HPV often carries no symptoms, and in the vast majority of cases, the body is able to eliminate the disease on its own. However, in the instances where HPV is not taken care of by one’s immune systems, the illness can lead to much more serious conditions.
HPV is spread through sex or genital contact. Those who contract the disease more than once or from multiple partners are at a greater risk of developing other HPV-related illnesses, such as genital warts. According to St. Louis’ KSDK, in some cases, the disease can lead to cancer.
The news source reports that cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer derived from HPV, but it has also been known to lead to vaginal, penile, anal and oral cancers as well. In order to contract oral cancer, the disease must be spread through oral sex.
“The more times you are exposed, the greater the chance that you may develop cancer, just from a probability statement,” Dr. Siobhan Sutcliffe, of the Siteman Cancer Center, told the news source.
Sutcliffe urges individuals to practice safe sex by wearing a condom every time they have sex. Contraceptives are one of the most efficient forms of STD prevention currently available.
The doctor also recommends that individuals be careful when selecting a sexual partner. If you don’t know a person’s sexual history, then it’s always best to use a condom.