About 80 per cent of every sexually active man or woman, will likely contract at least one strain of Human Papillomavirus (HPV)- the most common sexually transmitted virus, at some point during their life time, according to world health bodies. The virus is known to be the root cause of many cases of cancers in both men and women, including all cervical cancers, which kill one woman every hour in the country, according to experts. Globally, about 630 million people are estimated to be infected with HPV, compared to the 40million infected with HIV.
This virus, which presently has no cure, is not spread via bodily fluid alone, hence cannot be prevented completely using condom. The World Health Organisation (WHO), and other bodies reveal that HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact, and can infect anyone (many times) who is, or has ever been sexually active. Known to be highly contagious, experts say HPV infection can affect the skin, cervix, anus, mouth and throat, of both men and women.
According to a cancer expert from Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP- Nigeria) Dr. Abia Nzelu, HPV can cause cancers in both men and women.
“Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. Eight out of 10 cases of cancer of the anus are linked to HPV; half of vulval cancers (the outer private part of women) are related to HPV; seven out of 10 vaginal cancers are HPV-related; one out of three cancer of the penis are linked to HPV. Other places that can be affected are the mouth, throat, scrotum, conjunctiva (covering of eye), skin, nose, nail beds and tonsils”, she said. Nzelu said most of the time, HPV usually has no signs or symptoms, goes away by itself within years, and does not cause health problems.