"If I had been vaccinated, I might not have an HPV now"


It is a virus that almost everyone gets, but few people know: the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Eighty to ninety percent of people have ever had an HPV infection in their lives. Women are vaccinated for this from the age of thirteen through the National Vaccination Program, the boys are not.

That should change, not only with the Health Council, but also with Ryan, 22. "If I had been vaccinated as a child, I probably would not have had HPV and the unpleasant consequences associated with it," he says.

The Health Council believes that boys should also be protected against the virus through the government's vaccination program. Not only to combat the risk of cancers that can arise from HPV in men, but also to reduce the overall risk of someone getting the infection. HPV is transmitted through sex, but it is not an STD. It is not a disease but a virus.

Your body almost always cleans the virus itself, within a year or two, and you no longer notice it, writes the National Institute of Public Health and Environment (RIVM). Unfortunately this is not always the case. There are many different types of HPV and some are dangerous. Take, for example, types 16 and 18. They account for not less than seventy percent of all cases of cervical cancer.

HPV in men

In addition to cervical cancer, if not eliminated by the body itself, HPV can also cause cancer of the mouth or throat, but also of the lips, anus, and penis. The latter variants are less well known because HPV in men appears to be a poor child. Ryan (22) from Breda, who prefers not to have his full name on the paper, knows all about it.

"I discovered two years ago that I have HPV," he says. "When I returned to the doctor for the stitches, his premonition was confirmed: he had genital warts caused by the virus, HPV.

"The doctor told me that I contracted this virus during sex but that it would be visible for a long time and maybe never.It explains why so many people walk without knowing.I also did not have sex in the six months before my diagnosis and did not notice anything Only if your resistance is low will you possibly suffer from the virus. "

With Ryan it was like this. The points that were created would be easy to deal with, but the opposite turned out to be true. An irritating process followed and ended in one operation. "Now, two months after the operation, everything runs as it should, there are some small scars on my penis, but you're sure of that." After I did a checkup with the urologist, everything was fine. Just as soon as the blemishes come back, I immediately have to go back to the doctor because this can cause cancer.

Cancer or not?

If the form of HPV that Ryan carries with him is becoming a cancer, doctors can not tell. There are many different types of infection. "There are many types and so little is known that they treat as one and the same," he says. He finds it very difficult for him not to know if his HPV will someday become cancer and that he now carries the virus.

"HPV is something that people and especially men will be ashamed of.I have not shared the bed since the diagnosis.You have to tell your partner what you have but to be honest: if I say I have HPV, do you still feel that way? "HPV continues to infiltrate your body for the rest of Ryan's life, medicine is not (yet) available. people in their twenties can infect others.

Contamination can also be done with a condom. The chance is less. To prevent the virus from spreading further, Ryan thinks that vaccinating men is a good idea. "I think we should have done this sooner. It's a bit of a shame for you to take your child into his future by getting him vaccinated. You can live well with HPV, but it has unpleasant effects on your social life as well can be psychologically harassed. "


Despite the virus asleep in his body, the future is bright, according to Ryan. "HPV does not make me infertile so I hope some of my little ones are still walking in the future," he says, laughing. "That's my biggest wish."

Currently, boys can get HPV vaccination out of the government's vaccination program – at their own expense – at the doctor, but the possibilities and the risks are not as well known. According to the RIVM, 190 men die each year from the effects of HPV. They think it is a good idea to vaccinate girls and boys against the virus.


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