What is HPV?
posted: Dec. 15, 2021.
You have recently discovered that you have HPV and now you are wondering what comes next? How did this happen? What does this mean for the future? Let's help answer some of your questions!
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a viral infection that is sexually transmitted. The signs and symptoms of an HPV infection may go unnoticed for years at a time which makes it difficult to track down when/how you may have contracted it. HPV can cause genital warts and may sometimes lead to cancer. It is important to let your healthcare provider know if you have noticed/felt any recent changes within your body.
There are multiple strains of HPV; ones that cause genital warts and others that cause cervical cancer. HPV strains 16, 18, and 45 are the higher risk strains and your healthcare provider can let you know if your results came back positive for these higher-risk strains.
HPV is very common. Did you know 8 out of 10 women have been exposed to it in their lifetime????
So how can we help prevent the exposure and transmission of HPV?
There is a vaccine available called Gardasil 9. This vaccine can be given to men and women as young as 10 up to age 45. The vaccine is a 3 dose course given within a 6 month time period. This vaccine will help protect you from the higher-risk strains of HPV. We would like to make you aware, the vaccine is NOT given to our pregnant or breastfeeding patients. But fear not, you can get it before or after your pregnancy!
Schedule your HPV vaccine with our office today!
So what is next?
If your pap test was abnormal then the next step is looking closer at your cervix with colposcopy. Colposcopy is an exam done in the office where the doctor looks at your cervix with a microscope. The doctor may also take some biopsies at the same time. We will guide you through the process every step of the way.
As always, use barrier protection when having sex to help protect you from HPV!