How to be responsible about sex and HPV
It’s possible to have sex even if you have HPV or you’re concerned about getting it. Like with other STIs, there are things that you can do to protect yourself and your partners from contracting it:
The HPV vaccine was fairly controversial when it first came to market in 2006, but it’s proven extremely effective. In the 10 years since the vaccine was introduced, infections for the strain that causes cervical cancer have dropped 86% in women between 14 and 19 years old, and 71% in women in their 20s. It’s recommended that men and women be vaccinated. Even though men can’t get cervical cancer, being vaccinated can prevent transmission to their future partners.
Get tested regularly.
Everyone who’s sexually active should be tested for all STIs regularly. Even people in sexually exclusive relationships should consider being tested periodically, as some STIs, like HPV, can lie dormant and not show themselves in a test for months or even years. Knowing your STI status is important regardless of your exclusivity with your partner.
Talk to your partners
Communicating with your partner(s) is just as important as being tested regularly. They have a right to know what your STI status is, just like you have a right to know what theirs is.
Learn to use condoms correctly, every time.
Everyone thinks that they know how to use condoms correctly, but oftentimes, they don’t. Use the correct type of condom, learn how to put it on, and remove it carefully. If you wish to prevent STIs, use condoms every time with every partner.
HPV sounds really scary, but it is possible to limit your risk of contracting it, just like with most STIs. If you’re responsible about your sexual health, get vaccinated and communicate with your partners. That way, you’re significantly less likely to contract HPV and suffer from other health problems it can cause.