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HPV: Sex Toys and Your Sexual Health

 
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HPV (human papillomavirus) is the most common sexually transmitted infection affecting over 20 million Americans and being acquired by 6.2 million more each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By the age of 50, 80 percent of sexually active adults will have experienced some type of HPV infection. Most people associate STI’s as the result of sexual intercourse, whether it be vaginal or anal. Unfortunately this is a common misconception. Intercourse is not necessary at all to acquire HPV; various high risk strains of which are known to cause invasive cancer predominantly of the genital area. While the majority of HPV infections do involve areas such as the cervix, penis, vagina, vulva and anus, recent studies have also shown that HPV is a higher risk for causing oral cancer than smoking. The connection - oral sex.

Until these recent studies were released it was thought that HPV was limited to the genital area including the anus. There has also been controversy regarding other means of transmission aside from the skin-to-skin contact with an HPV infected area.

It is now believed that there are other ways and one of those is the use of sex toys. Another means of transmission is simply the use of one's fingers when it comes to sexual stimulation and foreplay.

Dr. Joel Palefsky, Professor of Medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine and specializing in infectious disease (primarily HPV) has long believed in foamite transmission. Foamites are inanimate objects such as sex toys.

It is not uncommon during foreplay or even just genital fondling for HPV to be transferred from a pre-existing area of infection to other areas as well. In women with AIN (anal intraepithelial neoplasia), the precancerous anal lesions resulting from HPV, it is known that a significant number of these women have never engaged in anal sex. According to Palefsky, “there are only so many other possibilities for how it could have gotten there. We know that people can autoinnoculate”. Simply looking at the way in which women are taught to use toilet paper (wiping front to back) makes the likelihood for autoinoculation more obvious.

Add a Comment2 Comments

Dear Anonymous,
It is unfortunate that this is all you took away from the article. The education of women when toileting to wipe front to back does more to transfer the virus as can engaging in vaginal sex after which (if a woman is lying on her back) secretions tend to pool in the anal area. It is this type of nararowmindedness which perpetuates incorrect information and only diverts attention away from what can be done to prevent transmission of HPV to the anal area.
While anal intercourse is obviously a means of transmission, it is only one of them and to focus exclusively on this is simply a disservice.

June 30, 2011 - 1:14am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

When will people stop using their rear ends for sexual purposes???

[link removed by EmpowHer Moderator]

June 29, 2011 - 11:41pm
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