THE TRUTH ABOUT HPV

By Lucy Marley

Kavita isn’t the only one a bit confused by HPV. Actually, around 40% of adults don’t really know that it’s a common STI.

Does anyone know what it is?

Kavita isn’t the only one a bit confused by HPV. Actually, around 40% of adults don’t really know that it’s a common STI.
So lets start at the beginning: HPV is an infection spread through sex.

HOW DO I FIND OUT IF I HAVE HPV?

Well it all starts with sex.
AND skin-to-skin touching, so yeah rubbing...
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Cervical smear tests swab for HPV and it’s the best way to check if you have anything to worry about.
But you don’t need to overthink it. If your test comes back and you do have HPV, things will probably be fine.
Confused? Hang on.
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WHEN SHOULD I PANIC?

Well, hopefully never.
There’s over 100 types of HPV - and most you don’t need to worry about.
Your body will naturally clear out nearly all of them over time.
But some forms of HPV can turn into genital warts.
And around 14 strains can develop into cervical, penis and throat cancer.
HPV doesn’t usually have any symptoms - which is the whole point of smear tests, to catch HPV early.

SMEAR TESTS AND SHAVING

So I was a bit worried about my own smear test. Like should I shave? Will I bleed after?
Well I asked Sarah Mulindwa, a sexual health nurse, all those questions so you don’t have to… 
The nurse takes a quick swab of your cervix and sends it off to a lab to test for HPV.
It’s over within minutes and you should get your results within 4 weeks.
But how many women are actually turning up to their smear tests?
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Next

Smear tests and the missing women