What is HPV and How Can You Protect Yourself From It?

What is HPV and How Can You Protect Yourself From It?

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. More than one hundred strains of HPV exist and, while most of them don’t cause problems, some do—and those problems are potentially quite serious. For example, HPV has been linked to cancers of the cervix, throat, and anus.

So what exactly happens inside the body when someone contracts one of the dangerous strains of HPV? How can you learn whether or not you’ve been infected? And what can you do to reduce the risk of contracting an HPV infection?

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Christmas Kissing: How Mistletoe Became a Kissing Cue

Christmas Kissing: How Mistletoe Became a Kissing Cue

A lot of people decorate with mistletoe around Christmas, hanging it from the ceiling or over a door. Mistletoe is more than just a holiday decoration, though—it’s also a cue for smooching. People offer kisses to those who stand or walk under it. Have you ever wondered why, though? How did mistletoe come to be associated with kissing anyway? Here’s what we know.

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The HPV Vaccine May Soon Be Readily Available To Americans Up To Age 45

The HPV Vaccine May Soon Be Readily Available To Americans Up To Age 45

A few years ago, I decided to get the HPV vaccine. This vaccine didn’t hit the market until I was well into adulthood, so I didn’t have a chance to be vaccinated in my youth like most kids today (about 6 in 10 US parents are currently choosing to have their kids vaccinated against HPV). Unfortunately, I found that it was a ridiculously difficult and expensive process. 

Because the recommended age for the vaccine is only up to 26—and I was older than that—my insurance company wouldn’t cover it and many providers weren’t willing to give it to me, even though I said I would pay out of pocket (long story short: I eventually got it, and you can read all about the experience here). Fortunately, things look like they’re about to get easier (and cheaper) for the over-26 crowd.

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Why Do We Kiss Under Mistletoe?

Why Do We Kiss Under Mistletoe?

Many of us decorate with mistletoe around the Christmas holiday. It's often hung from the ceiling or over a door, with kisses offered to those who stand under it. Have you ever wondered why, though? How did mistletoe come to be associated with kissing anyway? Here’s a look at what we know, along with some other interesting trivia about what is widely considered to be the sexiest and most romantic Christmas symbol.

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Am I Too Old For The HPV Vaccine?

Am I Too Old For The HPV Vaccine?

In the United States, the FDA currently recommends the HPV vaccine for anyone aged 9-26, regardless of their sex. This vaccine is designed to prevent several different types of cancer—including cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus—as well as genital warts. But let’s say you’re over age 26. Does this necessarily mean that you're too old to get it? This is something a lot of folks—myself included—have wondered.

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Fact Or Fiction: Does The HPV Vaccine Work? (VIDEO)

Fact Or Fiction: Does The HPV Vaccine Work? (VIDEO)

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections today, and it is responsible for a wide range of health issues, including genital warts, as well as cancers of the cervix, throat, and anus. In order to combat HPV and its devastating effects, a vaccine (Gardasil) was introduced in 2006 and it is currently approved for use in both men and women. However, ever since Gardasil hit the market, the rumor mill has been in overdrive. People have questioned whether the vaccine is actually effective at preventing HPV, whether it gives young folks a "license to be promiscuous," and whether it causes negative side effects (in fact, former Republican Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann once famously claimed that the vaccine can cause mental retardation). So what's fact and what's fiction when it comes to Gardasil? Check out the video below for a reality check from Dr. Aaron Carroll of Indiana University.

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