STEP aside, HIV. There’s a new virus on the block set to take over being the number one sexually transmitted disease.

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the fastest spreading sexually transmitted disease (STD) today, its threat to many sexually active youths made graver by the fact that it also causes cervical cancer.

According to Lifesitenews, some types of HPV are responsible for 12,000 cases of cervical cancer and 4,000 deaths in America annually. About 20 million Americans have HPV and an estimated 5.5 million get infected yearly.

In the Philippines, cervical cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in women after breast cancer, according to a study by Dr. Maria Julieta Germar of the University of the Philippines.

“HPV infection can occur in both male and female genital areas even if they are covered by a latex condom,” the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Washington said.

Former United States House member and medical doctor Tom Coburn testified before the U.S. Congress last March that scientific data from the CDC concluded that condoms are not effective against HPV infection. The CDC is also looking forward to label condoms with “warnings of inability” to inform the public about the efficacy of “rubbers”.

Meanwhile, symptoms of the disease include dry, painless, cauliflower-like warts in the genital area, sores on or around the genitals, itchiness, profuse vaginal bleeding, and abnormal Pap smear results. Some types result in common genital warts while some can cause deadly diseases like cervical cancer.

HPV, which has more than 70 types, may not manifest immediately after contact. Symptoms may be triggered by illnesses, infections, and sexual intercourse with a partner having another type of HPV.

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Although there are remedies like surgery, cryotherapy (freezing), and electrocautery (burning) for warts, HPV infections are incurable and can easily be transmitted through genital contact. Reagan D. Tan with reports from Culture and Cosmos, www.lifesitenews.com, www.gfmer.ch, and www.discoveryhealth.com

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