According to William Shakespeare, the course of true love never did run smooth. And yet, the 13th century Persian philosopher Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī believed that we are all born of love. More recently, actress Jennifer Anniston declared, “I love that feeling of being in love, the effect of having butterflies when you wake up in the morning. That is special.”
People who are looking for love make sure that they look their best, worry about saying the right things and plan anxiously for that perfect moment to declare their feelings. People who are in love dream of the future and strive to strengthen their bond over time. Throughout beautiful moments, it may be hard to imagine that diseases and ill health may tear them apart. But it can happen – and it can also be avoided, sometimes with the simple act of vaccination.
Take the case of HPV, for example.
HPV is short for the human papillomavirus. “HPV infection is spread easily during sexual intercourse, as well as through oral sex and other close skin-to-skin contact (touch) during intimate moments,” explains Dr Hazlee.
“Sexually active people may get HPV at a certain point in their life,” he adds. Infected people may not show any signs or symptoms, or they show symptoms years later after being infected. Therefore, one may get infected and unknowingly spread it to his or her sexual partner. It takes only one encounter with an infected person to get infected.
While most of the time the HPV infection clears on its own, Dr Hazlee points out that some people may develop genital warts. In some cases, certain kinds of cancer can follow. Persistent high-risk HPV infection has been linked to cervical cancer, the 2nd most common cancer among Malaysian women.
Fortunately, we have vaccinations that can help protect us from HPV. For women, getting vaccinated is one way to greatly reduce the risk of cervical cancer. As for men, it is a means to protect their loved ones from the virus – certainly a more valuable gesture of love compared to flowers and diamonds!
So, talk to your doctor about taking the HPV vaccination.
Other tips for keeping love alive:
- Be sensitive to your partner’s needs. Know and understand your partner’s verbal and non-verbal cues, and build a relationship around your consideration for his or her likes and dislikes.
- Spend time together. Work, kids and in-laws can sometimes overwhelm a relationship, so allocate some “just the two of us” time to rekindle the magic.
- Give and take. No two people will agree all the time, and healthy relationships are built on compromises. Resolve disagreements with respect and love. Talk to a counsellor or a trusted third party if you need help in overcoming difficult disagreements.
 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What is HPV? Retrieved on 28 May, 2015 from http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/whatishpv.html
 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HPV symptoms and health consequences. Retrieved on 28 May, 2015 from http:// www.cdc.gov/hpv/signs-symptoms.html
 Zaridah S. (2014). A review of cervical cancer research in Malaysia.Med J Malaysia Vol 69 Supplement A August.