Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection that has affected nearly 98 million Americans. The infection can be passed on even if the infected person has not shown any signs or symptoms of HPV. In fact, symptoms of HPV can develop years after intercourse with someone who is infected. In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems, but if not treated properly, it can lead to genital warts and cancer.
How To Prevent HPV
There are several things you can do to prevent HPV. First, is to get vaccinated. It is recommended that all boys and girls ages 11-12 should get the vaccination. The vaccination protects against diseases, including cancers, caused by HPV. Secondly, women aged 21-65 should get routine screening for cervical cancer. Identifying any abnormalities early on can save your life. Lastly, and perhaps the most obvious given that HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, is to practice safe sex.
There is no specific test to diagnose HPV. There are tests to screen for cervical cancer caused by the HPV infection, but they are only recommended for screening in women over 30. As mentioned before, symptoms and health problems can take up to years to develop after being infected with HPV.
There is no treatment available for the virus itself, but there are treatments for the health problems associated with the virus. The genital warts often caused by HPV can be treated by your healthcare provider and with prescription medication. If left untreated, they may go away, but they may also stay the same or grow. Any cancers related to the HPV virus can be treated and preventable if caught early. That is why it’s crucial for women to get routine check-ups with their OB/GYN.
Contact Us Today
Whether you’re looking for a new OB/GYN or are looking to book a first-time appointment, we provide the same great women’s health care and strive to get you the help that you need. Call us today at (615) 690-6600.