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HPV has no age limits

30 January 2020

HPV has no age limits. Women of any age are at risk of being infected by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Throughout their lives, 75% to 80% of sexually active men and women will be infected by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

This is an easily transmitted virus, through the skin to skin contact or any type of sexual activity – both genital and oral. In most cases, the organism is capable of eliminating the virus. However, in some people, HPV does not disappear; it remains persistently and may cause cancer and genital diseases in both men and women. It is impossible to predict who can develop the diseases associated with this virus.

HPV is associated with the following diseases:

  • 100% of cervical cancers;
  • 84% of anal cancers;
  • 70% of vaginal cancers;
  • 47% of penile cancers;
  • 40% of vulvar cancers;
  • 99% of condyloma or genital warts.

In Portugal, there are an estimated 20% of women between 18 and 64 years old who may be infected with HPV. Condom use is important, as it is a form of protection against sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy, although it does not guarantee full protection against HPV.

Some of the diseases associated with HPV can be prevented through vaccination. Vaccination is also possible for women who:

  • Have already initiated their sex life;
  • Have previously had an HPV infection;
  • Have had an HPV disease and were treated;
  • The Portuguese Society of Gynecology recommends vaccination for women up to 45 years old, depending on their doctor’s assessment.