The Human Papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted virus and is very common. It is the most common STI in America. HPV can be harmless, and be asymptomatic, or, it can cause genital warts, and go away on its own, but it may also lead to cancer. HPV can cause cervical cancer, and cancer at the base of the tongue, throat, and tonsils. (Oropharyngeal Cancer) There is an HPV vaccine that can protect against diseases and cancers caused by the virus. It is recommended that the vaccine is given to young people, before they are sexually active, as early as ten, and eleven years old, or later in life, as a catch-up vaccine. Gay, bisexual and people with compromised immune systems are also considered high risk for developing HPV and are encouraged to be vaccinated. Routine screening for cervical cancer is recommended for women, as well as, for all people, the practice of safe sex. There is no test for HPV status; it is only diagnosed once symptoms develop.
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