Over one hundred strains of the virus have been identified by Scientists. Most of these strains are harmless. Some of these strains can produce common skin warts which appear on the hands and feet. Approximately thirty strains are spread through sexual contact. Some of these thirty can cause visible warts known as genital warts, while others can cause cervical and genital cancer.
HPV greatly outnumbers other std’s making it the most common sexually transmitted infection. An estimated 80% of sexually active adults are infected with one or more genital HPV strains at some point in their life. The vast majority of infected people suffer no side effects from the virus, which means that most of these people don’t even know that they are infected. This lack of knowledge doesn’t stop them from infecting others though. The immune system is usually able to clear the virus from the body within a year. After the virus is cleared from the body, that individual person is immune to that particular strain of HPV.
HPV is almost an unavoidable and invisible result of sexual activity. For this reason, most health authorities recommend that women have an annual pap smear following their first sexual activity, to ensure early detection of cervical cancer.
The only safe way to prevent HPV transmission is to abstain from any contact with the genitals of others. Not even “safe sex”, the use of Condoms, can provide complete protection from the virus. It’s not advisable to just practice safe sex. Perfect Abstinence!