October 1-7 2018 is HPV Prevention Week.
In 2017, Canada declared the world’s first HPV Prevention Week. Held the first week of October, this movement aims to foster awareness about the human papillomavirus (HPV), empowering men and women across the country to learn how they can help protect them-selves against HPV and HPV-related cancers and diseases.
Visit www.canadavshpv.ca to learn more.
Fast Facts about HPV:
- HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in Canada and around the world.1
- It is estimated that as many as 75% of sexually active men and women will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives, regardless of lifestyle, but most people with healthy immune systems will eventually clear the infection from their bodies.
- HPV is not a female-only virus. Recent data shows that more than 3,500 Canadians — 1/3 of them males — were diagnosed with HPV-re-lated cancers in 2012.
Steps you can take to help
- First, educate yourself about HPV, how it’s transmitted and how you can help protect yourself.
- Talk to your doctor about HPV vaccinations – the vaccines appear to be safe and effective to help protect against the most common types of HPV. However, side effects and allergic reactions may occur, and HPV vaccines do not protect against all HPV types.
- Even if you’ve been vaccinated, continue to visit your doctor for regular screenings. (Pap tests). Pap tests do not prevent HPV, but when changes in cervical cells are found early, they can often be treated effectively before they become dangerous – regular Pap testing can reduce cervical cancer deaths by 70%.
- Finally, if you receive any abnormal test results take immediate action to address them, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer.
More prevention tools
Canadians can and should take immediate action to help protect themselves from contracting HPV and developing related diseases:
- If you are sexually active, use latex condoms every time you have sex. However, it’s important to know that HPV can infect areas not covered by a condom, so they may not fully protect you against HPV during sexual contact.
- Limit your number of sexual partners to help reduce the risk of HPV transmission.
- Quit smoking – smoking makes the body less able to ght off HPV infection.
- Not all HPV infections lead to cancer, though regular cervical screenings are important to help prevent cervical cancer.
- Health Canada has authorized three vaccines to help prevent infections from different / various types of HPV.
- Even if you are infected with one type of HPV, vaccination can help protect you against other strains of the virus that you have not been exposed to.
- It is important to remember that, even if you have been vaccinated, you are still at risk for strains of HPV not covered by the vaccines,vaccination does not protect everyone, and you may have already been exposed to HPV before getting vaccinated. This is why it’s so important to practice safe sex and for women to have regular Pap tests.To learn more about HPV prevention visit www.canadavshpv.ca and join the conversation online using #CANADAvsHPV