I have a tight circle of female friends, and we have a lot of open discussions about sex and health. A few years ago, I found out that more than one of my friends had contracted Human Papillomavirus (HPV) from a sexual partner. If they hadn’t visited a gynecologist, they never would have known that they had HPV. I later found out that at least half of my friends (all in their mid-twenties) had never been to a gynecologist. My friends that hadn’t been to a gynecologist said they never went because they either didn’t need any prescription birth control or they were scared.
Even if you don’t need a doctor to prescribe birth control, it is important to know your risks if you are sexually active. Of course, there are risk assessment tools like STD Wizard that are available for free online. Even with such tools, a visit to the gynecologist for important issues such as cervical cancer screening and testing for sexually transmitted diseases and infections is necessary. It is a precaution that could save your life.
Luckily, my friends that had HPV no longer have it. But, the scary thing is that they did not have any symptoms and may have found out only when they had complications. In some cases, HPV can cause genital warts and even cause cancer in the cervix, vulva, anus and the penis according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Whether or not you feel at risk, it is important to be aware of such silent infections and assess your risk based on your sexual behaviors.
You are not at risk if you have not had sex outside a mutually monogamous, long-term relationship with an uninfected partner. But, if you or your partner have had more than one sexual partner, you may be at risk for a common sexually transmitted infection such as HPV. In some cases, a visit to your gynecologist is of the utmost importance to your sexual health. So, if you have had sex, assess your risk here [www.stdwizard.org] and go see your doctor. It could save your life.