Human Papillomavirus also known as HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection.
HPV is usually harmless and goes away by itself, but black women have a higher rate of cervical cancer associated with HPV than white women.
The truth is, there is a lack of awareness about the HPV vaccine in the black community altogether. And what most know about HPV are often misconceptions.
Here are the most common myths and facts about HPV:
7. Only Women Get It
Fact: Men can actually contract HPV as well.
The truth is, if you’re sexually active (man or woman), you will most likely have at least one HPV infection at some point in your life.
Tough to swallow, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any person who has close, skin-to-skin contact with another person who has an HPV infection can contract the infection as well.
6. It Causes Cancer
Fact: There are actually over 150 HPV-related viruses and not all strains cause cancer.
They actually cause a plethora of different conditions with some of those strains causing skin warts, genital warts, and precancerous changes in cells.
The HPV strains that actually causes cancer are referred to as high-risk HPV (types 16 and 18), that can lead to cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, anus, penis, and the throat.
5. It’s Caused By Intercourse
Fact: Protecting yourself with condoms can lower your risk of getting HPV, but you can still get the virus if it’s present in any part of the skin not covered by a condom.
HPV can technically be spread through skin-to-skin contact, so you don’t have to have sexual intercourse to get it.
4. Men Can Get Screened for HPV
Fact: Unfortunately, there is no FDA-approved HPV screening test for men.
However, women can continue to get screened through their annual Pap smears. These screenings can detect HPV in cervical cells and check if their cancerous or not.