Did you see that HPV was in the news a few days ago? There’s a new report out on the Prevalence of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in Adults Aged 18-69…
I’m so glad that they’re taking a look at the numbers because we’ve known for a long time that it’s BAD.
A huge segment of our population has the virus and what gets me is that there is STILL no test offered by main stream medicine to detect this virus in men.
And it pisses me off, especially after I read through the report.
Here it is in a nutshell… and I’m not bashing men or doctors… I’m pointing out the shortfalls of the system we have in place and how it’s impacting both men and women.
So here’s the deal, we already know that HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease….
It’s hard to detect… you have to get a Pap Smear to find out if you have it, and the doctor doesn’t have a test to check your male partner to see if he has the virus.
This means, that if you go to the doctor to get tested for STDs with a new partner, in addition to the standard STD panel, you would have to have a pap smear done, AND specifically request that they test for HPV to find out if you have it. Normally, they only test for it if your Pap is abnormal.
When your male partner goes to the doctor to get tested for STDs, he can get a clean bill of health but you STILL WON’T KNOW if he has HPV, simply because the doctor doesn’t have a test he can run on a man for HPV.
Then when YOU get an abnormal pap smear, it’s a BIG SHOCK to discover you now have an STD. Surprise!
And your healthcare professional may tell you that you can’t be sure it was THIS partner who gave you HPV because it can lie dormant in the tissues for a while and cause problems when your immune system is down. And while this is true… if you’ve had unprotected sex with a new partner and you get an abnormal pap smear… chances are… it was him. And that’s my personal, unprofessional, non-medical opinion from my experiences with HPV.
So basically… the message I got was that guys don’t have to take responsibility for this virus and it’s not his fault, it could have been any of your previous partners. (Sounds a bit like slut-shaming doesn’t it?)
And you are left to deal with a virus that may NOT go away, and may put your life at risk. It could cause problems for the rest of your life, it could put your fertility and ability to carry a pregnancy to term at risk. Not to mention force you to endure invasive and painful therapies to get rid of the situation before it becomes cancer! And these procedures can have long term consequences too.
I can tell you from personal experience, it sucks. EVERY BIT OF IT SUCKS!!! From the fear and stress that comes with a “pre-cancer” diagnosis to the testing and the recommended treatments that follow…which are in my opinion, barbaric and best reserved for last resort. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not really into having chunks cut out of my cervix or having it burned or frozen if I can avoid it (which I did).
So, I really feel like the medical community NOT testing men is doing EVERYONE a huge disservice. (and I’m going to tell you what we can do about it in just a moment)
Back to the report… check it out…
The data comes from the NHANES database, which means that it’s a representative sample of the US population over a period of years. The report was put together by the National Center for Health Statistics which is part of the US Dept of Health and Human Services and the CDC.
Here’s what they found…. in adults ages 18-69….
- 45% of men have HPV and 25% of HPV positive men have at least one of the high risk strains
- 40% of women have HPV and 20% of HPV positive women at least one of the have high risk strains
- 7.3% of men test positive for oral HPV with 6.8% positive for high risk strains
- 3.3% of women test positive for oral HPV with 1.2% positive for high risk strains
With almost half of the population affected, how to you protect yourself when your health care provider CAN’T test your guy for HPV????
AND how does your daughter protect herself when the day comes that she doesn’t use a condom? Eventually, the condom comes off, whether it’s just because… a conscious choice… an oops… or time to start a family…
How do you protect yourself when sleeping with someone is playing Russian roulette with HPV?
It’s basically 45% chance that he’s HPV positive and if he is, there’s a 1 in 4 chance he has a strain of HPV that could adversely affect your cervix and put you at risk for cervical cancer. It’s scary!!
So what do you do? Get the vaccine? They’re giving the vaccine to kids but not to adults because “they” feel like we’ve already been exposed, so too late.
It’s also important to know that the vaccine doesn’t protect against all of the high risk strains.
There’s something else that you need to know about... there actually IS a HPV test for men.
Yes, you read that right, the problem is your doctor doesn’t offer it, and probably doesn’t even know about it. Honestly, I don’t understand why not, maybe it takes a while for new things to catch on? Insurance companies? Not sure.
BUT JUST THINK ABOUT ALL OF THE ABNORMAL PAP SMEARS THIS TESTING COULD PREVENT!!!! All the stress. All of the expense. All of the cervical cancer.
I’m a believer in testing. I want to know what viruses my partner may be carrying. I want to make an informed decision about what I’m exposing myself to. Why can’t we make it easy to find out?
Needless to say…. I’m frustrated about how the whole HPV thing is handled. The tools are available to do things differently and to empower the individual to be proactive to prevent the spread of HPV.
There is lots more I could say about this but I know this email is becoming a book… so I’ll close with an invitation. Join me on Thursday, April 20th at 9 am PDT (12 pm EDT) for a free webinar.
In this webinar you’ll learn…
- All about HPV, what it is, how and why it causes problems
- About the HPV vaccine
- How to protect against HPV
- How to reduce the risk of problems if infected
- About the HPV test for men and oral HPV testing
- How to talk to your kids about HPV so they will be safe
The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, April 20 at 9:00 am PDT (12:00 pm EDT). If you can’t attend live, when you register you’ll receive the webcast link which acts as your replay link.
Can’t wait to share with you about this important topic. This is essential education for both you and your children. We can change the way this problem is approached and I’ll share how on the webinar.
See you soon!