27. HPV is a common and silent infection.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the single most commonly sexually transmitted infection, and many people with HPV don’t develop any symptoms. However, even without exhibiting symptoms, people with HPV have an increased risk of developing several different cancer types. There are more than 40 different types that can be passed through sexual contact. Many forms of the virus go away on their own and relatively harmless. However, others can cause cervical, vaginal, and anal cancers.
The ACS estimates that over 31,000 men and women are diagnosed with HPV-caused cancers every year. If you don’t have HPV, getting the Gardasil vaccination can protect against infections. If you’re over 26, however, the vaccine may not be effective. In that case, it’s imperative to get screened regularly if you’re sexually active and seek treatment if you are diagnosed with precancerous cell changes.