healthy living, wellbeing

Stigma behind HPV

What is HPV? It’s Human Papilloma Virus an infection which can be passed on during sex (or via intimate touching) and is linked to cancer. I read an article recently on the BBC website which I will link regarding women’s fear and shame around having HPV.

Did you know there are more than 100 different types of HPV!? Its very common, in fact in the article it says that most women will expect to get it at some point in their life and sometimes your body can treat it on its own other times it can’t. HPV is NOT an STI these are two different things, HPV is an infection which can be caught from skin-on-skin contact, so you don’t have to have full sex to be at risk any intimate touching can pass it on.

You now get checked for this infection when you have your smear test, two birds one stone I guess! It’s important to remember that most of the time you will not realise that you have HPV because you won’t have any symptoms. It is so important that you get your smear test done once you’re of age (so, so, so important) and then again when your GP reminders come through, don’t just get tested because of HPV although it is linked to some strains of cervical cancer but go because it is important to get your cells checked to see if they’re abnormal or not. A lot can happen between your first and second smear test so make sure you attend your appointment every time!

Five important things to remember;
1. Always get your smear test! Don’t ever miss it, it always shocks me when I see on the news how many women don’t turn up for their smear tests. I think its because there are too many horror stories around smear tests but to be honest most women go in, get checked in 5 mins and don’t even fill anything. It’s an in and out joby!

2. HPV doesn’t make you a slag! This infection is so bloody common it’ll make the whole country a slag if that was the case. It’s transferred through intimate touching you don’t have to have had sex with anyone to catch it…

3. HPV doesn’t mean you’ll get cancer! With 100 different types of HPV it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got the strain which will cause cervical cancer. A lot of people will self-heal the infection themselves without any treatment needed.

4. Getting HPV doesn’t mean your other half has been unfaithful! It would be crazy to assume your partner has been unfaithful because you have HPV. You could of had the infection for years before its been brought to light as it has no symptoms.

5. Knowledge is power! Teach yourself and read up on HPV more so you can call anyone out who doesn’t understand the infection but also educate them. Read up before you go to your appointment and if you have anymore questions ask them while you’re there.

Busting the myths and removing the stigma around HPV is so important to ensure women are attending their cervical screening appointments!

Here’s the article from the BBC.

Much love x