Does the Pill Protect From HPV?
Understanding the ways in which the HPV virus is passed, and the specific ways of protecting yourself, is important if you are sexually active. This includes understand the specific sexual practices which put you at greater risk.
Oral contraceptives, a.k.a. The Pill, do not protect you from acquiring HPV infection, because the Pill offers no real barrier against this disease. HPV spreads through skin to skin contact, when it enters through a tiny tear or lesion present on the skin surface. This need not be a large tear. Some tears in our skin occur naturally and are present only on the very outermost skin layers. The HPV virus can enter into these tears, travel into deeper layers, and go on to replicate itself within your body.
For example, in the case of genital warts, which are caused by a particular strain of HPV, you contract the virus through skin to skin contact of the genital region during sex. Also, you can acquire genital strains through oral sex and anal sex. Since the Pill cannot prevent your touching someone else’s skin during sex, it cannot present travel of the HPV virus.
There are really only two ways to absolutely guarantee that you are never infected. One way is total abstinence – which for most of us is not going to be a realistic way of life. The other way is to only have one sex partner in a lifetime, who also has had no other partners. Although for many people this is an ideal, it does not happen for many of us.
How then, does a person realistically protect themselves from the very real possibility of HPV infection and also live a full life? By keeping yourself well-informed and updated about the latest information and research about HPV! Make certain that you are not buying into common myths associated with HPV, and make certain that you are not getting misinformation from well-meaning friends and partners, but from reputable medical resources. And you can also protect yourself by watching your health closely through the years for any signs that HPV related issues might be present, because in many cases they can be caught early and treated successfully by your doctor.
There is no contraceptive form – whether the Pill, foams and jellies, IUD’s – that will protect from the skin to skin contact that is necessary for the HPV infection to be transmitted from you to a partner. Condoms however do offer some barrier from skin to skin contact, and are believed to offer some amount of protection against HPV. But it is important to know that they will not completely protect you. This is because the skin area above the condom, which comes into contact with a partner, will still allow transmission of the virus. It is also important to remember that HPV is passed not only through conventional intercourse, but through oral sex and even anal sex.