Only YOU can prevent HPV from affecting your child's future. By simply learning a little more, you can do a lot better in preventing HPV and cancer.
HPV (short for human papillomavirus) is a virus that could affect your son or daughter.
HPV is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract.
There are over 100 types of HPV. Most are relatively harmless causing skin warts (locally known as kulugo) in the hands and feet.
There are approximately 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital area.
There are 15-20 identified high-risk types that can cause majority of HPV-related cancers and diseases.
In most cases, HPV is cleared by the body’s immune system. For those who don't clear certain types, HPV could cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in females and anal cancer in both males and females. Other types could cause genital warts in both males and females.
HPV often has no visible signs or symptoms, so many people are not even aware that they have HPV. That means someone can pass on the virus without knowing it. And there's no way to predict who will or won't clear the virus.
While you may have heard about the link between HPV and cervical cancer, the virus doesn't just affect females. HPV has been shown to cause anal, head and neck, and penile cancers, as well as genital warts in males.
HPV infection is mainly spread by direct genital or sexual contact.
Even if your son or daughter is not having sex, exposure can happen with any kind of adolescent experimentation that involves genital contact with someone who has HPV — intercourse isn't necessary, but it is the most common way to get the virus.
Since HPV often has no signs or symptoms, many people who have the virus don't even know it. Talk to your child's doctor about helping to protect him or her against HPV-related cancers and diseases before your adolescent son or daughter is exposed.
Talk to your doctor now about how you can protect your child against HPV and cancer.