Thai medical experts hold seminar, warn of the risks of HPV

Photo by Medical News Network.

Several Thai medical experts discussed the country’s struggles with human papillomavirus (HPV) at a recent seminar. HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that causes several cancers, most commonly cervical cancer in women.

Cervical cancer kills 13 Thai women every day. It is the second deadliest cancer for working-age Thai women, after breast cancer.

A shockingly high percentage of people are at risk of contracting HPV. Over 80% of sexually active men and women are at risk of contracting it at least once without any symptoms, Bangkok Post reported. Twenty-five women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day, adding up to a total of 9,158 cases per year.

The speakers at the seminar included doctors from several government and private groups. The speakers warned of the risks of HPV.

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The president of the Royal Thai College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, Dr Vitaya, warned of how HPV can stay dormant. He said that HPV usually goes away on its own, but in some people, it can stay dormant for 10-20 years. The affected skin area will then turn cancerous over time.

A survivor of cervical cancer, Somkuan Sathongkaen, discussed how she learned that she had the disease. She said she started bleeding more heavily during her menstrual cycle. Later, her menstrual cycle became irregular, and she suffered serious stomach pain during menstruation. When she went to the doctor, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and was already at Stage 2. Somkuan said it took her over a year to recover.

Dr Vitaya added that HPV symptoms are not clear in the beginning, so getting checked is important. In Thailand, people can be tested with PAP smears and HPV DNA testing.

The president of the Royal College of Paediatricians of Thailand, Dr Somsak Lolekha, said the best age for boys and girls to get HPV vaccines is 9-15 years old. Dr Somsak said that parents should register their children for vaccines when schools schedule vaccination appointments.

Thailand News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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