I had so many questions, and because the vaccine was still new, it was hard to find the answers.
Shortly after I received my second dose (late), I was diagnosed with HPV.
At first I assumed my diagnosis rendered the need for the third shot obsolete, but, my doctor told me I should still get it.
” Whenever someone asks me (usually in a medical setting) if I have any STDs (a.k.a. The CDC estimates that 80% of sexually active women will have it by the time they’re 50. people with great immune systems, are the most likely group to get HPV (which stands for human papillomavirus).
STIs, for sexually transmitted infections), I always almost forget that I do. HPV is so common that it feels like it doesn’t even count. This explains why 90% of people who get the virus will fight it off with nothing more than their immune system in less than two years time. It’s a glamorous life of pap smears, colposcopies, biopsies, cryotherapy, the legendary Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) and seeing your gynecologist so often that you have her personal cell phone number, and you guys text sometimes.
I’m part of the other 10%—a very elite club who have a persistent HPV infection, because for whatever reason, our bodies can’t fight off the virus. Also, you send her Christmas cards, and you don’t even really send Christmas cards.
Anyway, in the three years I’ve been living with HPV, I’ve picked up a few things.
Let’s start with the basics: Of the more than 150 strains of HPV, at least 40 can be passed through sexual contact.
Some of these strains cause genital warts; some of them act stealth and present no symptoms at all.In fact, the combined power of the HPV-6 and HPV-11 strains causes more than 90% of genital warts cases.Although these strains cause unbecoming things to grow on your genitalia, they’re low-risk because they don’t cause cancer.By the time the HPV vaccine had fully hit the market, I was 24 years old. When I finally found it and got the first shot, I was 25 and still on my mom’s health insurance plan.When I turned 26 and aged out of her plan, I also aged out of the recommended age window for the vaccine. Finding a new doctor meant finding a doctor who could give me the vaccine… Time passed, as did the due date for my second dose.Even if you understand how common HPV is, getting a diagnosis probably won’t feel as shrug-worthy as it should.