Whether you’ve got some sexy times planned, or just want to be protect yourself in the long run, you’ve gotta know how to stay healthy in the bedroom–and you can’t always believe what your friends say about sexual health. HPV is one of the most mysterious and hard to pin-down sexually transmitted infections out there, and there’s a ton of misinformation flying around. We’ve rounded up the top five myths about HPV, and the real facts every gURL needs to know.
1. If my honey doesn’t show any signs of HPV, I can’t catch it from them.
False! Although the most obvious sign of HPV is warts or bumps around the genitals, both guys and girls can have HPV without showing any outward sign of it and there’s no perfect medical test for the virus. If your partner has ever had sexual contact with another person they could have HPV and not even know it.
2. Only skanky girls get HPV.
So not true! Even virgins can get HPV the first time they ever have sexual contact with a girl or a guy. In fact, you don’t even have to have full intercourse to get the virus–it can be spread through oral sex and genital rubbing, too.
3. If somebody has cold sores, it means they’ve got HPV.
Nope! Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus, which isn’t exactly something you want–but it’s totally different from the Genital Human Papillomavirus (HPV). That said? You still might want to postpone any lip-locking until those icky sores go away.
4. You should only get the HPV vaccine if you’re already having sex.
Wrong! You can totally get the vaccine if you’ve already been sexually active, but docs recommend getting HPV shots before you’re sexually active if possible, so you’ll be covered from the very first time you have sex. Ultimately, you should ask your doctor what they think is best for you–and don’t be embarrassed to bring it up, here or she will be glad you asked!
5. A condom will protect me from every STI, including HPV.
Sad but untrue! Of course condoms are a must-have, but since HPV is transmitted from skin-to-skin contact, it’s still possible that you could get HPV from part of your partner’s genital area not covered by the condom. The vaccine really is your best protection on this one.
WDYT, gURLs? Have you heard any other myths about HPV? Have you been been told you have HPV? Do you know anyone with HPV? Have you been vaccinated? And what do you think about guys getting vaccinated? Discuss below.