Many people have question about the HPV shot. The two HPV vaccines currently available are Gardasil and Cervarix. Both of these are available in your clinics and at your doctor’s office and are available for both men and women.
During my Periscope one viewer had a question about when to test for Herpes. The Herpes Simplex Virus, almost all of us has been exposed to it so we don’t test for it routinely because if you pick up on the positive antibody but you’ve never had a flare that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the herpes. This is usually for HSV 1 or HSV 2 (Type II is usually more genital, Type I is usually a cold sore).
Since most people have been exposed to HSV 1, I don’t normally test for. If you come in with an ulcer, you come in with a cold sore and you say can you test me for herpes, yes, I do test because if the test is positive then we know you have it and have the uncomfortable discussion about treatment. But I don’t screen for herpes because even though you’ve been exposed to it since the majority of us has been exposed to it and the majority of us will never have a outbreak or any problems from it. Most doctors do not routinely screen for herpes because there is generally no point to it and it’s an uncomfortable conversation to have if someone has a positive antibody. When someone has a positive antibody to herpes it means they’ve been exposed to it, however, it doesn’t actually mean they will have an outbreak. But if you want to be screened for it, ask your doctor to be screened for it.
Alright, let’s talk more about the HPV vaccine. HPV vaccine is available for boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 26, it used to be 9 but they moved it up to between 11 and 26. People have become more and more concerned about the HPV vaccine which is available from ages 11 to 26. People have become concerned about it because of complications that the research has brought to light. You know with any vaccine, any medication there’s always the possibility of risk or side effects and you have to weigh the pros and cons for you and your family. There’s also been some questions about it’s effectiveness, however, it is safe. Remember you have to do your own research, talk to your doctor, and weigh the pros and cons. I offer the vaccine here at my practice and I talk to my patients often about it. When we have the conversations about it, if they don’t feel comfortable about it, we don’t push it. If they come in and have done the research and are comfortable with it, we give it. I will say, knock on wood, I’ve been in practice for almost a decade now and in my population of patients, I’ve had zero complications.
Remember the HPV vaccine is a series of 3 shots. You get it over a couple of months and then you are done, you don’t have to do a booster of that.
A common question is why would someone get HPV even though they had the vaccine. There are many different types of HPV. There are 40-60 different types of HPV. Some HPV may cause cancer, some not. Getting HPV is something that can lead to cervical cancer and anal rectal cancer which is why it’s so important to prevent. It’s the only shot we have that can potentially prevent cancer so that’s why it’s such an important.
The type of HPV you are exposed to will determine whether you will have problems from it. The HPV shot protects you from the ones that can cause cancer but it may not necessarily always protect from the one that cause genital warts. HPV is a very complicated disease so please have the discussion with your doctor if you have concerns.
Hepatitis B also requires a series of 3 shots, which are generally received during childhood before school and then again before college. However, Hepatitis C currently has no prevention other than safe sex , not using IV drugs, or not getting blood transfusions that hasn’t been screened. However, the good news is that there is now a curative drug for Hepatitis C, so, the medical world is now being a little bit more proactive and is testing the baby boomers which are folks that grew up and had “fun” in the 60’s. If you are in your 50’s or 60’s and you’ve never been tested for Hepatitis C with your STD screens, you want to make sure you do so. Hepatitis C can cause an infection and damage to the liver long-term. Hepatitis C can be sexually transmitted, through IV drug use, transfusions, or getting tattoos. Anything involving needles or sexual intercourse, you can expose you to Hepatitis C. If you’ve not been tested and you are in the baby boomer age then please do so because now we have a curative drug and that is good news.
Someone asked about sex after menopause on my Facebook page. Atrophic vaginitis is a drying out of the cells of the vaginal area and it happens with a decrease of hormones, a decrease of estrogen. There are ways to treat it, we have creams, we have different ways to lubricate, prescription or natural or over the counter. There is a way to treat it. So don’t go through your phase of life and have discomfort and pain and no pleasure because you feel like oh well I’m menopausal and that’s how it’s supposed to be. Talk with your doctor about it. There’s estrogen creams prescription. If you don’t want to go the prescription hormone route because you are afraid of side effects there are natural things. There’s a compound cream that we use here, one of the compounding pharmacies in my area makes a cream called Scream Cream. You heard it, Scream Cream and guess what the main ingredient is Viagra. How interesting? Viagra in a cream form, along with some other stuff is great for lubrication. It kind of has a warm kind of a feel, not that I know personally because I haven’t tried it. But I’m told it has a warm feel, Viagra increases blood flow to the right areas, natural and helpful. The oral Viagra is actually being tested for women too.
I hope that you have enjoyed this series on Sexual Health. If you haven’t read Part 1 please check it out here on my blog.