Cervical cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and is caused by the HPV virus. The human papillomavirus belonging to the papillomavirus family of viruses can be passed from one human to another through genital contact, vaginal or anal sex and in some cases through oral sex. Commonly the virus goes away without any severe health effects but in some cases it can lead to modification of normal cells into abnormal cancerous cells causing cervical cancer. It is most common in women and develops around the uterus and vagina. It can lie dormant for several years and can easily go undetected.
The Pap smear test is the most common test for detecting pre-symptomatic stages of cervical cancer and can help in early detection and prevention of cervical cancer. This test is cheap and can be done in many hospitals. Women are encouraged to take this test every 5 years and maintain healthy sexual contact throughout their lives. Negligence on the part of sexual partners can easily lead to one transferring the virus to other.
The HPV virus exists in about 100 different strains and two of them 6 and 11 produce very painful genital warts. About 70% of people come in contact with the HPV virus in their lifetime. Warts are clot like structures and can be a big nuisance. They are one of the symptoms of HPV that can be visibly diagnosed. Many other forms including the deadly strain 16 can go undetected in early stages and cause half of the cancer cases.
Though a deadly disease HPV is very different from HIV in terms of symptoms and effects. HPV virus unlike the HIV virus lives on the skin cells. The HPV virus can cause various health problems like genital warts, cervical cancer or Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (RRP). As is always said prevention is better than cure. HPV vaccines should be given to children of the age of 11-12years. These vaccines are completely safe and effective. With our current generation getting proper knowledge of AIDS and STDs. Knowledge about the HPV virus is equally important amongst youngsters. People should take necessary precautions while having sex and limit their partners to avoid infection. Condoms cannot completely protect you against HPV as it is caused by physical contact of genitalia.
Yes STDs can cause Cervical Cancer and everyone especially women should undergo regular tests throughout their lifetime and lead a healthy sexual life to avoid this disease.