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Dr JN: I think the key is that people should be aware of HPV and what it could potentially do. I think what people shouldn’t do is be worried about it. HPV exposure is incredibly common. It is something that is part and parcel of living in human communities. Our immune systems clear the virus efficiently enough so that most of us are never aware that we’re every exposed or infected.
However, some individuals can’t clear the virus. If infected with the high-risk strains over a long period of time – especially with the two highest risk strains, HPV 16 and HPV 18 – pre-cancer type changes can develop which then eventually become cancer.