You and the World: HPV

My name is Melissa Alvarez freshman class of SLA, and I have a story to share; One that’s affected my life greatly this year. When I was given this project I had trouble finding the right topic. It had to be something uncommon that we don’t hear about all the time. Then I thought about my own life and what’s really changed it and decided.

My project is about the Human Papilloma Virus, otherwise known as HPV. It’s something we’ve all heard about at least once in our lives, or read in our 8th grade health textbooks. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in women globally. Hundreds of thousands are infected with it right now and have no clue.

How does this relate to my own life? My mom was infected with HPV a couple years back and it was one of the hardest times she had and still does have to go through. The infection is long gone out her body, but the after effects are something that will be with her and millions of other women for the rest of their lives. These women are now much higher prone to cervical cancer, the 3rd most common type of cancer to women. That’s where my life started to change.

In June of 2012 my mom began to have a flare up of her HPV symptoms. What did this mean? I knew it was possible that cancer could be happening but it was hard to believe for me. I researched more about it and the symptoms involved and then my mom went to get everything tested again. I went with her to get her last test done and stayed with her in the room, and she got her final results a week later. She was tested negative to cervical cancer. This was amazing news, but it was one of the hardest times to I’ve been through; never knowing what’s going to happen.

So here I am, ready to introduce you to my ‘You and the World’ project on the Human Papilloma Virus. It won’t only affect you, but everyone around you. People should absolutely hear about it now before they’re infected later, and that’s what I’m here to do.


The Human Papilloma Virus is a papovavirus. A papovavirus is DNA that is double stranded and often causes infections/diseases. Men do not get HPV, but they do transmit it. Women are the ones who become infected. There’s more than 100 types of HPV in the world and over 40 of them are passed through sexual contact with a partner. Genital HPV is an infection of the genital area of the body. Over half the amount of people who part take in sexual activity will come in contact HPV at some point in their lives, but the women won’t usually know it because it’s asymptomatic in the beginning.

HPV is most often passed through sexual intercourse but can be spread in different ways. You can only get genital HPV from skin to skin contact, most often through vaginal or anal intercourse. It is also possible to get it from hand-to-genital contact or oral sex, but not as likely.

The Human Papilloma Virus is asymptomatic in it’s beginning stages. You won’t know unless you’re getting regular Pap tests. “A Pap test is when a cell sample is taken from your cervix and looked at with a microscope,”( It’s a quick test and it’s one women should have regularly, not only to check for HPV but to to make sure their cervixes are healthy.

It's an important thing that everyone should be in charge of. You should always know what's going on in your body or what you could be passing on to others. Male or female. Most of the common cases route from infidelity. One partner cheats, transmits it to the other partner and *bam*; infected. The woman doesn't get her Pap test and realizes later that she has cervical cancer and can't do anything to stop it. Women should regularly get a Pap test. Most go annually to see their gynecologists, but when they don't take that extra step to make sure everything is healthy in their body is when they realize that they should have. Be aware and be safe by going to get tested. You could be stopping something before it even happens to you.


Click here to watch other women's stories

Click here to play the HPV Challenge

Click here to learn basic facts about HPV