Everything you need to know about STD that made Katlego Maboe chencha daai ding – Doctor speaks out

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Katlego Maboe caused a national outcry when it was revealed that he cheated on his wife and infected her with a sexually transmitted disease, HPV.

According to Marie Stopes director of clinical services, Dr Melusi Dhlamini, who is also a sex and reproductive health clinician, HPV is quite common and is more prevalent in men.

He explains that HPV, which stands for human papilloma virus, is the name for a group of viruses that affect your skin and the moist membranes of your body – that is the cervix, anus, mouth and throat. He says that there are different strains of HPV. There are two main genital HPV infections: those that can cause genital warts – small non-cancerous growths around the genitals that usually aren’t painful and are treatable – and those that can lead to cervical, anal and other cancers.

“While most have no symptoms and can be cleared by the body’s immune system and don’t cause any health problems, other strains may persist and can cause cancer,” says Dhlamini.

He says it is passed on through skin- to- skin contact. “Often through a cut, abrasion or small tear in your skin.” Genital HPV infections, he says, are very common.

“The virus can easily be passed on through unprotective vaginal, anal or oral sex [without a condom or dental dam], with someone who has an HPV infection [even if they don’t have symptoms], sharing sex toys that aren’t washed or covered with a new condom each time they are used and close genital contact.

This means HPV can be passed on even if there’s no penetration, orgasm or ejaculation. And for those who think sleeping with someone even once won’t affect them, think again.

HPV, like per other sexually transmitted diseases, can be transmitted after being intimate only once. It can’t also be prevented by washing yourself afterward. He says you can take legal action against someone who knowingly infected you.

But you would also have to prove that you didn’t have the infection before you had unprotected sex and that they had the infection and did not disclose it to you. “It is difficult to prove,” he warns.

When it comes to treatment, Dhlamini says with cancer- causing HPV (high-risk HPV), if a cervical screening test (pap smear) shows you have abnormal cells on the cervix, it may be necessary to remove the affected cells to prevent them developing into cancer.

“If cervical cancer does develop and is found early, it’s usually possible to remove affected parts using surgery.”

With genital warts (low-risk HPV) there’s no cure, but it’s possible for your body to clear the virus over time. “The warts can be removed using creams, freezing or heating.”

He says HPV can be passed to a baby at birth in rare cases.

The HPV can be passed on even if there’s no penetration or ejaculation

-Sundayworld


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