At a meeting of cancer specialists at the University of Nairobi last week, reproductive health expert, Nelly Mugo, said that even as we take protective measures using condoms against most STIs including HIV/Aids, the rubber sheaths cannot provide 100 per cent protection against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
HIV might still be the most feared sexually transmitted disease, but it’s not necessarily the easiest to contract. Human papillomavirus is one of the leading killers of women worldwide—and a condom is only 60% effective at stopping it.
It is predicted that this new epidemic, even deadlier than AIDS, will claim many lives. The following key points explain why HPV is deadlier than HIV.
The Condom Misconception
But condoms have one huge failing that often goes overlooked: they can’t fully protect against the Human papillomavirus, better known as HPV. It doesn’t sound pretty, it doesn’t look pretty, and especially for women, HPV is a silent killer that can lie dormant for years unnoticed before it strikes.
The HPV Nightmare
The most widespread STI in the United States, Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the name for a group of viruses that affect your skin and the moist membranes lining your body, for example, in your cervix, anus, mouth and throat. There are more than 100 types of HPV, many of which cause nasty looking warts.
A Prolific Virus
HPV is so common, almost all sexually active men and women contract it at some point in their lives. The virus is spread by intimate skin-to-skin contact, meaning that anywhere two bodies touch, HPV can be spread—which makes condoms only somewhat effective in preventing it.
Contracting The Virus
HPV is mainly transmitted through sexual contact and most people are infected with HPV shortly after the onset of sexual activity. But HPV can be passed even when the infected individual has no signs or symptoms of the virus. In some cases it takes years for symptoms to appear, and rarely people never experience any symptoms during their life.
Links To Cancer
Cervical cancer is by far the most common HPV-related disease. Nearly all cases of cervical cancer, which is the leading cause of death in women, can be attributed to HPV infection. In fact, two types of the HPV, types 16 and 18, are responsible for almost 70% of all cervical cancer cases.
Danger To Women
Women are more susceptible to contracting the virus than men. Regarding HPV transmission rates, male-to-female transmission rates are 5% higher than female-to-male transmission rates.