It really shocks me how ignorant people are about HPV and how it is transmitted, even medical people I have spoken to have no clue about it.
I have been to a few holiday gatherings with family for Thanksgiving, and found myself in a few conversations about HPV. The conversation usually starts when I am asked if I am dating, and I say no because I don't want to be at risk for HPV because men who are carriers have no symptoms, and I am too old for Gardasil shots. When I go on to explain how HPV can be transmitted by skin to skin contact, even just kissing, the people who are currently dating react with shock. One of my nieces, who is in her first semester at college, ran to her mother after I explained HPV, saying she was was scared because her boyfriend cheated on her three times, and she wants Gardasil injections, etc., etc. I thought my brother and my sister-in-law were going to be so mad at me for prompting my niece to ask for Gardasil injections, but luckily they weren't. My niece made an interesting comment, she said most of the college students are "hooking up", and have no interest in pursuing meaningful relationships like she does. I assume they either don't know about HPV, or don't care about taking the risk.
I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place, wanting to warn the people I care about to be careful about HPV, informing them to use condoms AND get Gardasil injections (if age appropriate, if not I suggest abstaining from contact) for protection against HPV, HIV, and other STD's, but I don't want to be the one to scare them and make them worried and nervous about dating, but hardly anyone is HPV informed and transmission can have devastating consequences. I don't want to see ANYONE suffer from HPV related diseases, men or women, especially members of my family.
Any comments on how I can inform people regarding the dangers of HPV without making it seem like I am out to kill the joys of dating for them because I am just a paranoid middle aged lady who has given up on dating herself, or should I just keep my mouth shut altogether? When I talk about HPV to my best friend, she tells me to change the subject because she is afraid for her 16 year old son, she says he probably isn't go to ask every girl to get an HPV test before he kisses her (my girlfriend feels like I do, she said she would never consider dating any longer for fear of acquiring STD's).
Actually, the government should be doing the job of informing the public about this health risk so I wouldn't need to.
well first of all, I have been to practically every website regarding HPV and I have seen nothing about getting it through kissing. and sources also say that oral sex transmission of HPV also seems to be very rare. So, where you got that information about the kissing from I am curious to know. Second, you are writing about this as if HPV Is like AIDS or something. Yes, it is a crappy STI to get. Yes some strains can cause cancer, and some strains can cause warts. But, the majority of people who either have abnormal cell development or warts manage to fight the virus off due to good health practices and boosting a strong immune system. Yes, I agree that the public is largely uneducated and I actually plan to try and do something about that when I return to school for a master's in public health. But here is the thing. If you delve into the stats on HPV a little further, especially the cancer ones you will see this. 50% of women who have been diagnosed with cervical cancer have never had a pap smear in their life. NEVER. and an additional 10% of women diagnosed haven't had a pap in 3-5yrs. So, 60% of women being diagnosed with cervical cancer are just plain not taking care of themselves. If you have HPV, whether it be high or low risk, you need to take care of yourself by going to the doctor regularly and receiving all the necessary test and treatment. I also believe that women should be seeing a doctor as soon as they become sexually active, no matter what age. The earlier you find the HPV, the better. And granted, yes, sometimes you can have normal pap smears for years and years and then all of a sudden get an abnormal one from HPV. But that is why it is important to continue having yearly paps, because you never know when this virus can show up. The fact of the matter is that with somewhere between 30-40 different strains of HPV being passed through sexual contact, it's basically an impossible infection to avoid. It's almost guarenteed that with every new partner, you will be getting a new strain of HPV. and the gardasil thing....ok yeah it's good. but it protects against 4 strains. 4 out of the 30-40 that are passed sexually. And while the 4 it protects against are the most common wart/cancer causing HPV's, whose to say that with those strains attempting to eliminated by the shot, one of the other strains won't manage to pick up strength in the damage it can cause. AIDS has managed to morph into a superbug in some people, causing death way earlier than it should, so who is to say that HPV can't do the same. I think that the easiest way to deal with it is to use condoms, assume every person you have sexual contact with has 1 or more strains of HPV and because you make that assumption, be sure to continue with proper medical care.
actually there's a study (im sure you can find it if you search it online) that Oral HPV can be passed through kissing especially french kissing. There's also a study that HPV can be transmitted from the skin of the scrotum to your other partner's skin. I seee HPV as like a facial wart. it's a skin to skin contact virus. Like a facial wart when you cheek to cheek kisses. Yes, government plays a big role in educating the public. But we as citizens also need to encourage everyone to take actions including scientists, i believe we should have a fund to find a cure to this terrible disease. I think HPV is a silent killer, lurking around people's body that could eventually kill them. We need to gather ourselves around and ask for research on this... I mean, im hopeful that there will be cure for this, i mean, think there's now news that Stem Cell Research can kill HIV, lets hope so will HPV...
ok but basically unless we want to avoid all human contact as long as we each live, this virus cannot be avoided. so like I said before, since it can't really be prevented (well 4 can with gardasil) or cured at this point in time it's more about practicing good healthcare, and seeing a doctor regularly. coming from someone who currently has both high and low risk HPV, i really think some people are taking this to the extreme. IT really is not as big a deal as people think it is. HPV is not a silent killer. the strains that cause genital warts does not kill you or even lead to cancer. they only cause warts. which is annoying and gross, but no one is going to die from it. and as for the ones that cause cancer, I've already stated that more than half of women who are diagnosed with it have either NEVER had a pap smear, or haven't had one in 3-5yrs. HPV, if not cleared by the body, is managable with proper medical care and follow up treatments if necessary. It is not an end all be all virus. In 2009 estimated that around 11,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 4,000 will die as a result of cervical cancer. Every year, on average, about 36,000 people die from flu related causes. Both of those are stats for the US. So I am sorry, but you have a better chance of dying from the flu than from cervical cancer caused by HPV.
Article is entitled: French kissing ups risk of oral HPV infection.
Dr Maura Gillison from Ohio State University of Columbus did the research, read excerpt below:
Additionally, I read a few STD web-sites and they are advocating not to kiss on dates to reduce risk of HPV transmission. This is devastating news, IMO.
My aunt's neighbor came down with nasal cancer, so just for the heck of it, I looked up possible causes, and one cause of nasal cancer is HPV!
MY 30 year old single neighbor is in upper management at a medical company in NYC, and is also a registered nurse, his friend was diagnosed with HPV related oral cancer in his right cheek this past summer. My neighbor said he wouldn't date any longer until there is a vaccine available for men.
I'm afraid there are many more HPV related cancers to worry about besides cervical cancer.
I commend you for wanting to take action. The public is so misinformed or I should say uninformed regarding HPV, it's pathetic. I wrote to my congresswoman three times regarding the dangers of HPV, but never received a response! There have been posts on message boards by men who have HPV related oral cancer and they commented that if they knew of the dangers, they would have behaved very differently, that's why I tell everyone who is dating about HPV, so they can make an informed choice regarding their behavior. When I informed my 14 year old niece about the dangers of HPV and not to kiss any boys she meets at school until she speaks to her parents about Gardasil injections, she was so grateful and kept thanking me for telling her and for caring enough about her to bring it to her attention.
Last edited by Mod-S4; 12-13-2009 at 05:06 PM.
Reason: Please do not post text from other sources.
i still think that this is being taken to an extreme level. HPV can cause nasal cancer.....I'm sorry but that is like saying drinking coca cola will increase your risk of (fill in the blank) cancer. Maybe yes, but is everyone going to stop drinking coca cola because there is an extremely minor chance it's going to cause some sort of cancer? doubt it. Is your neighbor a smoker? use chewing tobacco? exposed to chemicals or dust particals frequently in the workplace? I highly doubt HPV gave your neighbor nasal cancer. There are a lot of things about all cancers that are not yet known, particularly in the area of genetic makeup. If science continues to improve, individual genetic makeup will probably provide a lot more clues as to why some people get cancer and certain types of cancer and others don't. It's not just environmental factors. Like I said, if people want to avoid human interaction, then by all means, do so. But do not go around scaring those of us that value relationships and human contact. Or making us feel like we are bad people because we have HPV and continue to engage in relationships with sexual activity. We are not lepers, we have a common infection seen in the majority of the population and should not be criticized or made to be feared because of it. And I'm sorry but until I read a journal article and not just a news story outlining the study design, subjects, limitation, etc, I do not place any faith in the study results. How many times have there been news reports about discoveries of new cancer causes or whatever and then if you access the actual study are able to point out flaws in the design or subject selection. The answer is, a lot. A lot of my classes in college required reading journal articles of scientific studies and I've found that not only do many have flaws, but they are designed in such a way to support the hypothesis being tested instead of refute it. I heard about a study that suggested that curvier women give birth to smarter children. Just because that made the news, should all thin women start chowing down so they can have a smart baby?? You cannot live life in a bubble worrying about everything that may happen down the road to you. You have a better chance of dying from being admitted to a hospital and picking up an infection than you do of an HPV related compication. By living life fearing even the most simplest of things such as kissing, you are missing out on living life!! Also, what if by chance they find out after doing a 15-20 year study of gardasil that something in the vaccine is linked to causing a type of cancer? What then? So like I said, it's fine to want to educate people, but the fact of the matter is that around 80% of the population has one strain or another of this virus, so it's not going away, and you should not be scaring or deterring people from finding happiness in a relationship with another person and dating until they do find that happiness.
The stats indicate that over 25% of single women haven't dated in several years due to fear of STD's, they are being called the "new virgins." It sounds like a good percentage of women have already been scared out of the dating scene, and it's not due to my posts here!
The Gillison study claims that among men who have had no oral sex, but only French kissed five partners in the last five years have a increased risk of HPV related oral cancer.
Would any woman want to French Kiss a man if they knew he had HPV-16 in his mouth? I doubt it, and there is no way to tell if he is infected.
The government should be educating people regarding the dangers of HPV so they can make an informed choice when it comes to their behavior.
This is my last post on this subject, good luck to you, I hope you find the happiness you seek in your dating relationships!
I'm curious as to what happen to the guy who had oral cancer on his right cheek. How old was he when he got it? did he survive? was the procedures the same; surgery, radiation and chemotherapy? My friend who had a lump in her cheek, she had it remove but i think it was an outpatient thing. i wonder how was the whole thing done, did he go for a surgery? how long was the recovery of his surgery...
Man, isnt this crazy! I do believe HPV is a serious case. We should march down to seek more information and maybe funding for cure on this dreadful virus!
the government does educate people. it's called the CDC and they have plenty of information regarding HPV on the website. this is not a dangerous disease. it's a common infection. people should be educated to not fear it, and accept that it is probably something they are going to encounter if they want to date and have physical relationships. 8 out of 10 sexually active adults have HPV. almost 90% of those that do have it clear the infection within 1-2yrs. the education of HPV should be on proper health care, not on fearing the actual virus. Women need to have pap smears every year, and any man or woman who notices any usual bumps in the genital area should have them looked at to determine if it is a wart. Women that have abnormal paps need to follow up with proper medical care and treatment if necessary. Being pro-active, not inactive about your health is what is going to save your life. Avoiding physical contact and the joys a relationship with another person can bring is only going to cause you to miss out on love and life.
and also, what is being said about HPV being dangerous and passed through kissing is sounding like an AIDS ad from when it was first discovered. One study suggested that it could be linked to oral cancer. A study that I can't even find an actual article on outlining the design, subject selection, methods, etc to see if there are flaws. Maybe if 100 studies come out also supporting it then you can go around telling people not to kiss. But 1 study doesn't make a hypothesis a scientific law!!! Like I've said, those of us who have it are not lepers, nor should we be treated as such. If you want to educate people on it, fine, but you should be focusing on the proper healthcare aspect and not how dangerous HPV is, because it's not
If you want to educate people on it, fine, but you should be focusing on the proper healthcare aspect and not how dangerous HPV is, because it's not
I have to disagree with you sarberrie. It is dangerous. Even if you don't count the enitre issue of oral cancer, HPV is an enormous health issue. In places where women don't get regular pap smears, cervical cancer is common, often the top cancer killer of women. In places women do get pap smears, it's not like there is some magic cure to prevent cancer. They prevent cancer by cutting off pieces of our cervixes. In addition to the fact that I generally like my cervix, it does have a purpose and there are consequences when pieces are removed from it! Removing the bad tissue also doesn't cure the HPV , so recurrences happen. Sure, if we get regular pap smears, HPV probably won't kill us, but it has a major impact on many women's lives!
I do have to agree with you though on you over point: we can't live in a bubble in fear of HPV. (Though that thought has crossed my mind a few times!)
Jacal: I know you said you are too old, but there's no reason you can't get the HPV vaccine now. Explain the situation to your gyno and I'm sure they will give it to you. (If she didn't, I'd say it's time for a new gyno!) It might now be covered by your insurance, but a few hundred dollars isn't a lot to spend when we're talking about the ability to have a social life!
but again lily, hpv becomes dangerous without the healthcare. You pointed that out by saying that in places where women don't get regular pap smears, cervical cancer is a high killer. That proves that it is the lack of healthcare and follow up care, not the HPV that is causing those deaths. Again, I have no problem on providing education about HPV, it is actually what I plan do with while pursuing a master's degree in public health. But the educational aspect should focus on how common of a disease it is within the sexually active population and that because it is so common, maintaining regular checkups is key to preventing future problems caused by HPV. The focus of education should not be avoid kissing and all sexual contact because you can get this virus. It should be, hey this virus is very common and if you are going to be sexually active you will probably have to deal with it at some point in your life so it's important to practice safe sex, limit your sexual partners and have pap smears done every year.
I don't know what happened to the 30 year old male with oral cancer in his right cheek, I haven't spoken to my neighbor (the cancer patient is my neighbor's friend) about him.
I do not want Gardasil injections, I am afraid of possible side effects and the injections don't protect against all deadly strains (cancer causing)of HPV. I'm abstaining and out of the dating scene for a long time now, my health is more important than a boyfriend at this stage of my life, I'm financially secure and able to do whatever I want, why should I have worrisome physical contact with someone who may be a HPV carrier and not know it.
I'm concerned for my family members who are younger and didn't start dating yet, and I want to protect them, but there really is no protection besides abstaining, the injections are not 100% protective, but at least it's something.
My oil man made a heating oil delivery yesterday to my house, he brought up the fact that there are so many STD's around and the young people don't care, they are hooking up anyway. He told me his 32 year old son caught low risk HPV four years ago and he hasn't dated since for fear he might catch another strain. He also said he meets many single females like me in my city who are not dating any longer when he delivers oil to their house, and he said he didn't blame me. The oil man is only the third person I've spoken to who had any knowledge of HPV, I was very surprised when he started the conversation about it. The other two people who are knowledgeable about HPV are constantly telling me not to go near any man, and I keep telling them they don't have to worry about that (lol)!
The New England Journal of Medicine documented that HPV-16 accounts for more than 90% of cases of HPV-positive squamous-cell carcinomas of the head and neck, and another part of the study said mouth to mouth transmission of HPV-16 can't be ruled out, so there is more than one study out there linking kissing to HPV.
I would bet if more people were aware of these studies, very few would be dating.
I started researching HPV because a friend of mine has two girlfriends who got cervical cancer from cheating husbands, and she kept asking me questions about HPV, and I had absolutely no knowledge of it. I am totally devastated at what my research has uncovered.
Yes! I couldnt agree more ladies! Up to this point, some of my ENT doctors (got that doctors meaning many of them) are clueless about it. My lump on my tonsil was conclusive of squamous papilloma but not human papilloma, so up to now, all my ENT doctors are holding my plans to go for surgery because it's not guaranteed that it's HPV. My heart says it is but i dont know. The worst thing about this virus is not many doctors know how to treat it especially when it's on the mouth, tongue or even tonsil. So I rely it on nutrition. Thanks to this message board, i was able to find many many ways of how to eat healthy while battling HPV. I had the feeling the reason why this wont go in public too much is the fear of people not dating therefore dont want to get married and/or procreate and in the very long run, we'll be extinct (lol)...anyway, please, please, keep asking more info about HPV, the more we bring awareness to this dreadful virus the more we have the power to do something and when we have power to do something our options of choices will be broader! Let's hope and pray that they'll find cure for HPV real soon!!!