The second part of my life skills "re-education" focused on STIs, what we once knew as STDs, and in particular something called HPV. NO! not HIV - HPV! Yes, I know - what the heck is HPV? Keep reading.
The Centres for Disease Control states that Genital human papillomavirus (also called HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). There are more than 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital areas of males and females. These HPV types can also infect the mouth and throat.
HPV can cause serious health problems, including genital warts and certain cancers. There is no certain way to tell who will develop health problems from HPV and who will not. In most cases HPV goes away by itself before it causes any health problems, and most people who become infected with HPV do not even know they have it.
HPV is passed on through genital contact, most often during vaginal and anal sex. HPV may also be passed on during oral sex and genital-to-genital contact. HPV can be passed on between straight and same-sex partners—even when the infected person has no signs or know they have it. A person can still have HPV, even if years have passed since he or she has had sexual contact with an infected person. It is also possible to get more than one type of HPV.
All cases of genital warts and RRP, and nearly all cases of cervical cancer, are caused by HPV. A subset of cancers of the vagina, vulva, anus, penis, and oropharynx, are caused by HPV. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types of HPV that can cause cancers.
It is the connect to cervical cancer that sees this emphasis at the talk.
Now tell me that you knew all this stuff? I was gobsmacked that this was being discussed at Grade 9 level - what do they know and talk about by the time they get to Grade 12? My parents would have "killed" me for swearing at them if I had to ask about genital human papillomavirus.
I am glad my daughter is not growing up in the same era I did. She, and her peers, are much better off and richer for the experiences their teachers are creating by dealing with such matters in-the-open. Now, if you dare, share this information with as many teenagers as you know. Oh, and I can hear my mom calling for "hands-of-prayer" to descend on my head!
(Technical info sourced from the CDC)