Genital Warts Prevention in Singapore: Genital warts are the most common sexually transmitted disease. They’re caused by a virus known as HPV. They can be removed, but may go away on their own.
There is an HPV vaccine. The main purpose of the vaccine is to protect against the strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer. This vaccine is recommended in Singapore for girls and women ages 9 to 25. It’s most effective if given before the first sexual activity, which is why it’s often given at younger ages, to ensure that a girl is protected once she decides to begin sexual activity (which she very well may hide from her parents). The vaccine isn’t mandatory, but is recommended as a prevention against cervical cancer. There are two types of HPV vaccine, and one of the types (called Cervarix) protects only against the strains of HPV that cause cancer. However, the other type of vaccine (called Gardasil) also includes protection against two strains that cause genital warts, in addition to protecting against the same cancer-causing strains as the other vaccine.
Preventing HPV infection is extremely difficult. It’s estimated that nearly everyone who is sexually active will be exposed to HPV at some point, because it’s so very common. For most people, the virus will cause no problems, and they may never even know that they had it. Because the skin around the genitals can spread the virus, wearing a condom provides only partial protection. In some studies, condoms don’t provide any protection at all from transmission of HPV. Therefore, the only way to ensure prevention of HPV would be for both you and your partner to abstain from sexual activity until marriage, and for both of you never to have another sexual partner. In the modern world, this is an uncommon situation.
Because most people get HPV, women may develop cervical cancer, which is one of the ten most common cancers among women in Singapore. This cancer most commonly develops when a woman is in her 20s or 30s. This is the reason that Pap smears are recommended for all women. The Pap smear is done during a pelvic exam. The doctor scrapes a few cells off the outside of the cervix (this doesn’t hurt; most women don’t even feel it), and these are examined under a microscope to see if they’re showing precancerous changes. If possible signs of cancer are found, then the outer layer of the cervix can be removed to prevent the woman from developing cervical cancer that could be fatal.