Human Papillomavirus In The Czech Republic: How To Reduce The Risk of Several Serious Cancers
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are many different types of HPV and the majority of infections are among people in their late teens and early 20s. Some types can cause health problems, including genital warts and cancers. Photo credit: freepik
Czech Republic, 2 May (BD) – HPV can be contracted by having sexual intercourse with someone who has the virus. It’s most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex but it also spreads through close skin-to-skin touching during sex. If you are sexually active, you can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person, and even if they don’t have signs or symptoms, the HPV infection can be passed. You also can develop symptoms years after having sex with someone who has the infection.
All women aged between 15 (or when they have first sexual intercourse) and 65 years, should do the PAP test and HPV-test, the most effective tool of prevention against this threat.
Within the Czech population, this health issue has serious consequences for cancer epidemiology, as confirmed by the latest statistics on HPV-positive cancers, which show a steadily growing trend. In Czech Republic, the annual incidence of HPV-associated cancers is up to 2,440 new cases, with 900 diagnosed in men, and the prevalence is more than 27,500 people.
Only 35% of women over the age of 50 in Czech Republic undergo regular preventive screening for cervical cancer. This percentage is too low, according to Marián Hajdúch, director of the Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine (IMTM) at Palacký University in Olomouc. The reasons why women do not go to the gynaecologist are diverse, but common among them are shyness, lack of time, distance from the gynaecologist, or simply because they believe they don’t have to do these tests.
It is important to help men and women become aware of the severity of sexually transmitted diseases, and to help them understand that these are problems that can affect everyone, which can be fatal if not taken care of in time.
To lower the chances of contracting HPV, condoms should be used the right way every time you have sex, but HPV can also infect areas the condom does not cover; another suggestion is to have sex only with someone who only has sex with you; get vaccinated, and book a visit with a specialized doctor.
In the Czech Republic, as in most European countries, a vaccination programme against HPV has been introduced, and girls and boys aged between 13 and 14 years old are invited to start the vaccination process. HPV vaccines are reimbursed from the public health insurance if the first dose is administered between the ages of 13 and 14.