If you were in the hotseat and Regis asked you to name the most common sexually
transmitted disease in the United States, would you come up with Human Papilloma
Virus or HPV? If so, you'd be ahead of several surveys of college students
which have found knowledge of HPV sorely lacking. [J Am Board Fam Pract 14(3):178-183,
This is important knowledge for college students as well as all sexually active
adults: HPV infection is rampant among college students and usually those infected
have no symptoms. One out of 10 infected people develop genital warts which
can lead to many health problems. More importantly, HPV has been well established
as the most important causative factor of cervical cancer, as well as penile
and anal cancer. In 1998, 12,800 women in the United States had cervical cancer
diagnosed, and 4,800 died of the disease. While a test to diagnose HPV is now
available, treatment of HPV is complicated and expensive. Pap smears can also
detect early cervical changes which may be related to HPV infection.
prevention of HPV infection is a critical public health issue; practicing safe
sex is the only practical prevention.
For more information, click here.
Created: 8/16/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 6/30/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.