Fresh concerns over sex virus in Antigua

first_imgHealthLifestyle Fresh concerns over sex virus in Antigua by: – August 21, 2012 33 Views   no discussions Genital warts. Photo credit: getexactsolution.com21st August 2012, St. John’s Antigua- “We have quite a problem to deal with here,” is how a local gynaecologist is describing the proliferation of anal-genital warts being presented in Antigua & Barbuda’s youth.“We are not talking about single warts, we are talking about the profusion of warts in young people. We have also been seeing the change in the cervix, precancerous cells in these young people,” obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Gwendolyn Fevrier-Roberts, said in an interview with OBSERVER Media.The genital warts are a telltale sign of the sexually transmitted infection (STI) the human papilloma virus or HPV. The virus is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact during oral, genital or anal sex with an infected person. HPV strains six and 11 are responsible for most of the genital wart cases.Dr Fevrier-Roberts said in her practice, she has seen an increase in the prevalence of the virus over the last five years, affecting mainly “school-aged girls and girls in their early 20s”.“The HPV virus, from my experience, is definitely showing up itself a lot more in our population, when I compare the obvious HPV cases that I see now and what I saw when I started in 1989,” the doctor said.Alongside the increase in the virus in the island’s young women, the doctor also revealed that the instances of anal HPV are greater “than we used to see” in the country’s men.Asked about the social change that may have bought about the explosion of the disease, the doctor said that it is a “difficult one” to determine.“The cause I am not sure. It is a STI and I don’t know if a change in sexual practice may have something to do with it,” the gynaecologist noted.The doctor revealed that a condom might not be enough to prevent the spread of the virus, saying, “It has been found in some studies that (with) the HPV virus, some of them can go through the condom.”She added, “The condom is not a foolproof barrier.”According to the Dr Fevrier-Roberts, the HPV virus causes many cancers.“I don’t know if people are not listening or don’t believe it. HPV is linked to cervical cancer, vulva cancer, scrotal cancer, penile cancer to throat cancer.”As there is no cure, the doctor said the best prescription for the island’s youth is prevention—making the vaccine available to young persons before they become sexually active.Two vaccines are currently available, Gardasil, which protects against HPV strains 16,18, six and 11 and Cervarix that guards against 16 and 18. Both vaccines are widely used in the United States and the United Kingdom.Although both are available in Antigua & Barbuda, the doctor said that they are not yet widely used on island.However, she admitted that often young people can “clear” the virus without any treatment.“The immune system of young people is such that a young person can acquire the HPV virus and clear it,” Dr Fevrier-Roberts said.However, the doctor noted that some parents might be reluctant to have their children vaccinated with HPV vaccines.“We are still having problems in terms of parents accepting that kids need to have information about regular sexual activity and to subject them to a vaccine that is related to sexual activity,” the doctor said.Antigua Observer News Share Sharecenter_img Share Sharing is caring! Tweetlast_img read more