Ever heard of HPV? It is short for Human Papilloma-Virus, and is a common virus that gets passed through skin-to-skin contact during sex. There are many different types of HPV, and some can cause just warts, while others can lead to abnormal cervical cells and even cancer. HPV is not a new virus. But many people don’t know about it. But don’t worry, it is nothing like HIV or herpes!

We have teamed up with Dr. Christina Walch- Edwards, a top gynaecological expert at Mediclinic Creek Harbour, to bring you this handy guide on HPV and cervical screening for mums. Dr. Christina is an Austrian board certified specialist doctor in Gynaecology and Obstetrics. She is proficient in many gynaecological surgeries, as well as obstetric procedures and also provides medical counsel for general gynaecological problems, as well as antenatal and postnatal care.

Dr. Christina is committed to continuous learning and collaboration enabling her to stay at the forefront of the field, and deliver the highest standard of care to her patients. Blending her clinical expertise with a patient-centric approach, she is dedicated to providing exceptional women’s healthcare services. Book an appointment with Dr. Christina here.

Here’s what you really need to know:

  • HPV is very common. Most people who are sexually active will get it at some point in their lives.
  • You can have HPV with no symptoms at all. It can even stay in your body for years after you have been sexually active.
  • Having HPV does not mean you’ll get cervical cancer. While HPV can lead to cervical cancer, it is not guaranteed. The good news is that your body can often clear the virus on its own, especially when you are young.
  • You can’t catch HPV from swimming pools, toilets, or “being unclean”. Contrary to some beliefs this simply is not true.
  • You can’t tell how long you’ve had it or who passed it to you. It has no symptoms, is impossible to track and, in some cases, you will not know you have it.

The key point here is that sometimes, it can lead to cervical cancer, so protecting yourself and getting checked regularly is important, especially if the HPV infection sticks around. 

There is also a vaccine called Gardasil®9 that protects against the most dangerous types of HPV.

Gardasil®9: A Safe and Effective Vaccine

This vaccine protects against the 9 most common types of HPV and is most effective for girls and boys aged 9-12 before they become sexually active. It does not cure existing HPV infections, but it can prevent future ones that could lead to cervical cancer and warts. Vaccination is still advised for those up to 26 years, and in other countries, guidelines say it can be given until the age of 45.

It is important to note that the vaccine does not cure existing infections, so it is crucial to vaccinate children and teens before they become sexually active. 

Don’t Miss Your Cervical Screening!

Cervical screening tests are vital for catching cervical cancer early, or even preventing it altogether. There are two main types of tests:

  • Pap smear: This test checks for changes in your cervical cells that could be caused by HPV.
  • HPV test: This test looks for the presence of the HPV virus itself.

Screening saves lives! Alarmingly, more than half of cervical cancer cases in the America happen because women rarely or never get screened. The American Cancer Society recommends women aged 25-65 have an HPV test every 5 years, a co-test (Pap + HPV testing together) every 5 years, or a Pap smear alone every 3 years. This compared to Germanywhere they are more rigorous, and women aged 20-34 should have a Pap smear yearly, while those over 34 should have a co-test every 3 years.


Get yourself booked in for regular cervical screenings for yourself.
Consider getting your children vaccinated with Gardasil®9.

These simple steps can protect your family’s health for years to come. Talk to Mediclinic Middle East if you have any questions about HPV, the vaccine, or cervical screening.