HPV is not always well understood, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the only UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities, shares answers to the common misconceptions about HPV.
You don’t have to go for cervical screening if you have had the HPV vaccine
The vaccine provides a high degree of protection against cervical cancer however it does not provide full protection. The new vaccine (Gardasil 9) prevents 90% and the old vaccine prevents 70% of all cervical cancer. Therefore, it is very important that you still attend regular screening even if you have been vaccinated to reduce your risk and have maximum protection.
You can’t contract HPV if you use condoms
Practising safe sex through the use of condoms can help reduce your risk of contracting HPV but it will not completely eradicate the risk as HPV lives on the skin, in and around the whole genital area.
You can’t contract HPV if you have only ever been with one partner.
You can contract HPV the first time that you are sexually active and the virus can remain dormant for long periods of time which is why continuing to attend regular cervical screening is important for all women.
You can’t contract HPV if you have only ever been sexually active with a woman.
HPV can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact in the genital area so anyone with a cervix who has ever been sexually active is at risk of contracting HPV and experiencing abnormal cervical changes. Thus, they should always attend when invited for cervical screening.
For support, visit Jo’s Trust at www.jostrust.org.uk.