The Deputy Programme Manager for Non-Communicable Diseases Control of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Efua Commeh has disclosed that condoms cannot protect against cervical cancer.
According to her, the virus that causes cervical cancer is found in the whole perineum (the surface region in both males and females between the pubic symphysis and the coccyx) of which condoms cannot protect.
Though condoms can help reduce some sexually transmitted diseases, she said there isn’t a direct evidence of its ability to prevent specific human papillomavirus (HPV) strains.
She added that even if condoms are worn during sexual activity, and worn correctly, there is no 100 percent guarantee of protection against the HPV.
According to Dr Commeh, over the years information reaching many health sectors claimed that condoms could help with HPV, which is not the case today.
“Many think condoms may lower a person’s risk of transmitting or getting HPV especially when condoms are used consistently and properly, but the virus (HPV) can still infect the uncovered areas…” she said.
HPV is a term used to encompass over 100 different strains of the human papillomavirus. Some of these strains cause genital warts (for example, HPV types 6 and 11) and some are known to cause cervical cancer, penile, vulva, vaginal, anal, and throat cancers (for example, HPV types 16 and 18).
Dr Commey added that while genital warts can be treated, the virus cannot be cured.
According to her, the big picture here is that some sexual partners do not even know they are infected with HPV and may be transmitting it to their partners, which may lead to cervical cancer in the next future.
She therefore called on young ladies to avoid multiple sexual partners, go for screening to help know their status and avoid future cancer of the cervix.
To the men, she advised they avoid having different sexual partners in order to prevent transmitting infections from other women to their partners.