We admire basketball star and barangay kagawad (of Urdaneta Village, Makati) Chris Tiu for being the face of a new campaign to raise public awareness against sexually-transmitted infection dubbed ” Help Fight HPV.” For him, it’s not a multi-million peso endorsement for a mobile phone or power drink. Still, the benefits are priceless since it will warn the public, especially the young and carefree, about the health risks of contracting the human papilloma virus or HPV.
Sure, HPV is not the same as HIV or AIDS, but the effects are equally menacing. Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms or health problems but sometimes, certain types of HPV can cause genital warts in men and women. Other HPV types may cause cervical, vulvar, and vaginal cancers.
As such, Help Fight HPV was launched earlier this year by global pharmaceutical company MSD, medical groups such as UP-PGH OB-Infectious Disease Section, Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of the Philippines, Philippine Society of Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy, and patient support group Carewell.
Chris Tiu says: “I admit to being initially hesitant when I was approached about the advocacy. But once the facts were laid down to me, and after doing my own research, I knew that it was a cause that I want to be a part of.”
HPV is a common infection affecting both men and women. One doesn’t need to have multiple or simultaneous partners to get infected. Even in a monogamous relationship, one can still be at risk if the partner has had past sexual activity with an infected partner.
Moreover, HPV is not only transmitted through intercourse, but through any kind of skin to skin contact (for example, hand to genital contact). In rare cases, it may be transmitted from mother to child through childbirth.
“This is not an issue of promiscuity. I, for one, feel strongly about abstinence as the best way to prevent HPV infection. HPV vaccination is a good alternative for helping to protect against certain types of HPV-related diseases, which like any other preventive vaccine, works best prior to exposure to the virus,” Chris said. “Think of it as an investment on your health and the health of your loved ones.”
HPV vaccines, such as the quadrivalent HPV vaccine, have been approved by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration.
“In reality, whether you’re liberal or conservative, helping spread the message regarding HPV and the ways to prevent infection has the potential to spare a lot of people from undue burden and most likely even save lives. And for that I’m proud to be part of this advocacy,” shares Chris.
For more information, visit www.helpfighthpv.com.