Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Quickly Spreading in Kenya

  • There is an incurable killer disease on the rise in Kenya and very few people know about it.

    Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection that is common among sexually active persons.

    It causes a number of health problems including genital warts and cervical cancer in women.

    The symptoms of HPV are rarely noticeable thus making it hard to be diagnosed during its infancy.

    It is incurable and is believed to be behind the sharp increase in cases of cervical cancer, which is now among the most common forms of cancer killing many people in Kenya.

    According to the Ministry of Health, around 2,451 women die from cervical cancer in Kenya every year while another 4,802 are diagnosed with the disease, mostly in its advanced stages.

    Statistics show that HPV is more widespread than the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes Aids and also causes anal, penile, and vaginal cancers, which are rarer, as well as genital warts, common in both women and men.

    Despite the risks posed by HPV, many Kenyans are unaware of it.

    Recently, a survey conducted on 327 women in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu, aged 18 to 60, revealed that 97 percent of them did not know about HPV.

    There are at least 100 known subtypes of HPV, 14 of which are linked to cancer. HPV 16 and HPV 18 cause at least 70 percent of cervical cancers.

    Depending on the type of HPV you get, you may or may not have symptoms.

    If you have genital warts, that’s a sign of HPV. 

    They can be raised, flat, pink, or flesh-colored.