HPV, HIV, HBV…and more

January 8, 2010

I am working on a project designed to understand how college students think about HPV. I have learned that the human papillomavirus — HPV — is confused with HIV by some male college students in this project and that some females confuse it with HBV — the hepatitis B virus…

The media has covered the HPV vaccine and, of course, we have all those direct-to-consumer ads appealing to the ‘I want to be one less’ angle. What isn’t clear in many of these stories and ads is that HPV is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. That is why genital HPV cannot be guaranteed to be protected by use of a condom during sexual intercourse.

The HPV vaccine is, of course, not designed to prevent HIV. A female who has completed the series of HPV shots likely has about five years of protection from HPV. She is not protected from the human immunodeficiency virus — HIV. Males who mistake the two conditions, HPV and HIV, may wrongly believe that the HPV vaccine protects her and him from HIV and thus feel less inclined to use a condom to prevent HIV. That is a serious mistake.

The incidence of head and neck cancers over the past decade has been found to be related to oral HPV. College males who report engaging in open-mouthed kissing have been found to be more likely to test positive for oral HPV. But this is not the only path for transmitting oral HPV. As with genital HPV, the skin-to-skin contact provides a transmission route.

There is a vaccine  for HBV. HBV affects the liver and is transmitted in ways that are similar to HIV, including blood and bodily fluids. It really can be a matter of life and death if we fail to keep straight the differences between these three and our actions to prevent them.

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One Response to “HPV, HIV, HBV…and more”

  1. ABR says:

    Don’t miss reading the award- winning book “The HPV Vaccine Controversy: Sex, Cancer, God and Politics authored by Shobha S. Krishnan, M.D, Barnard college, Columbia University. The book is written without the influence of any pharmaceutical companies or special interest groups. It is available at amazon.com and Barnes and Noble .com. You can also get it through your local library. It educates both professionals and the public about HPV infections, the diseases they cause and the role/ controversies surrounding the new vaccines. The book has been chosen by The American Journal of Nursing (AJN) as one of the most valuable books of 2009 and is the recipient of The Book of The Year 2009 Award. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, June 17th 2009) calls the book superb and a terrific contribution to the field. Website: http://www.thehpvbook.com/. You can contact the author through her website, if interested

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