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Keeping Tabs on HPV

HPV hardly ever causes symptoms. Some experts believe that only 1-2% of the people who are infected with wart-causing HPV, and 3-5% of people infected with dysplasia-causing HPV ever show symptoms. This is why so many people have HPV and don't know it! In fact, HPV is so very normal at this point that if you are sexually active, you have a 75-90% chance of contracting it sometime in your life! So relax, this is not the end of the world. You've merely found out that you're sharing a virus everyone else has, too - they just don't know it yet.

On the other hand, even though HPV is so widespread, hardly anyone knows about it, and that's bad. People just keep on spreading the virus because they are inadequately informed, or simply do not think it's a big enough problem to even tell their partners. For this reason, it is very important that you tell any future partners that you have HPV, and also anyone you could have gotten the virus from. Many times, however, it is very difficult to determine who has infected you because HPV has an indefinite incubation time. It can infect the skin and then stay there, dormant, until a change in the body gives it the chance to activate. I have received emails from people who were married for years, faithfully, and suddenly found themselves with HPV because of changes in their health. Some triggers of HPV are:

  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes due to birth control or pregnancy
  • Immunosuppressant drugs
  • Other illness
  • An HIV-positive diagnosis

As you can see, the nasty little virus is just waiting to come out. To keep tabs on it, try to adopt a healthier lifestyle. First of all, get all available STD tests, so you are sure that you only have HPV. Then, practice taking care of your body by eating less junk food, quitting smoking and drinking, and exercising more. It is also helpful to take vitamin supplements. I remember a study where they gave women with dysplasia vitamin C over a period of time, and it helped a lot. So take vitamin C often, and you may also want to try Echinacea. Finally, practice de-stressing yourself! Stress is a big factor in helping your immune system cope with anything, especially viruses. I know that's easy to say, and your stress level is doing anything but falling now that you've been diagnosed. But let me assure you that there are plenty of resources out there to help you deal with HPV, in book form and on the web. There are also a number of support groups on Yahoo, and of course, our very own In any case, if you need help and you reach out, there will certainly be someone available to get you through this.



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