Oh Joy Sex Toy: OMG, It's HPV

Erika Moen
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I’ve been producing webcomics since I was 15 and doing it full-time as a professional since the age of 25 at Periscope Studio in Portland, OR. My work has been published by Dark Horse Comics, BOOM! Studios, Image Comics, Fantagraphics, Last Gasp and Villard, among my many self-published projects as well.

Oh Joy Sex Toy is a weekly comics series that graphically explores sex and sexuality. This week, Erika Moen explains the basics of HPV. 

Read more Oh Joy Sex Toy comics or buy the Oh Joy Sex Toy book at Bitchmart


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4 Comments Have Been Posted

Good info. One thing I'd add

Good info. One thing I'd add is that the strains of HPV that cause warts are low risk - as in low risk of cancer - strains, while high cancer risk strains are much more likely to cause cancer. Another thing is that, yes, you should start getting paps at 21 EVERY YEAR, but after 30 you only need them every 5 years, UNLESS you test positive for HPV, and then you need them every year until you clear the virus.

I was just "diagnosed" with a high risk strain and was all freaked out. Then I talked to my dr again and she assured me that the point of paps is to catch anything asap, and that it is statistically highly unlikely that I would develop cervical cancer, even though I have a high risk strain of HPV. She also assured me that literally everyone has HPV, like at any given time 80% of the sexually active population, and so it is not a big deal AS LONG AS I am being screened for health issues.

WHICH IS WHY WE NEED DECENT HEALTH CARE IN THIS COUNTRY AND NOT JUST INSURANCE REFORM! HPV is not a big deal IF people have access to preventative health care, which many people lack because of inadequate health insurance.

Great Comic!

Thank you for this! So many people have HPV (including myself - I went in for my *second* colposcopy/biopsy in as many years earlier this week - low-grade, luckily!), and this explains it in a non-scary way. I am sending this on to my mom, who had a big reaction to the news.

I love this Comic! I've

I love this Comic! I've learned so much in the last year. I recently found out I had HPV around the time this comic was posted. I went in for a pap, then had to go in for a colposcopy and biopsy the next week. I was really upset, but everyone had told me not to worry and to get regular paps to monitor it. I totally trust the advice here and it's made me feel better to read about it from my favorite sex positive comic. Thanks! <3

Just had to add

In theory, the vaccine is available to everyone.

In practice, those over the age of 26 have a *really* hard time accessing it because it was not tested in people older than 26 and the general assumption is anyone older than that has already been exposed to the virus (which is, arguably, not true).

And even if you find a doctor who will give it to you despite your age, insurance may not cover it.

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