by Michele Shackelford, staff
The symptoms of HPV are usually not obvious, so most people
are unaware they have contracted the virus. Antibiotics can
control HPV, but most people do not require treatment because
the body’s immune system is able to control the virus.
The easiest way to know if you have HPV is ask your doctor
to administer a test.
Most cases of HPV are harmless, but some lead to cervical cancer.
This is the main concern for young women, because 14,000 cases
of cervical cancer are diagnosed in the United States each
year. The American Cancer Society (ACS) has estimated that
more than 9,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer
HPV is the main risk factor for developing cervical cancer
(health.ivillage.com). HPV infects the cells of the cervix
and slowly causes cellular changes (dysphasia) that can result
in cancer. Women are more likely to contract HPV from puberty
to their 30s, but the disease can take up to 20 years to develop
into cancer (nccc-online.org).
Cervical cancer kills approximately 200,000 in developing countries
every year. It is the third most common cancer overall, and
the leading cause of death in women in developing countries.
The number one way to decrease risks is, to make women more
aware of the effects of HPV, and motivate them to seek immunization
Gardasil is the new vaccine made by Merck & Co. and has
been approved by the FDA to prevent cervical cancer in females.
This is the first vaccine released for HPV, but it is not a
cure. This vaccine does not substitue for your routine cervical
cancer screening. Gardasil protects against four types of HPV,
including the two types that are most often cause cervical
cancer. It does not protect you against HPV you may already
have.The vaccine is given as a three dose series over a six
month period. Gardasil is not a “STD vaccine,” it
simply protects against certain types of HPV, but not other
HPV Research Study
The Cancer Center of Hawai‘i is conducting HPV
research studies open to HPU students 18-years-old and
older. The purpose of these studies is to examine factors
that influence HPV infections and the risk of developing
cervical cancer in women, to learn more about the natural
history of HPV in men, and to evaluate transmission between
male and female partners.
Study visits are scheduled every two to four months.
All participants receive HPV testing at no cost. Females
receive free Pap smears. Compensation of $40 to $50 is
provided at each visit for time and transportation costs.
Additional information can also be obtained from out
Web site at www.hawaii.edu/hpv.