Human papillomavirus (HPV), affects 79 million Americans, making it the most common sexually transmitted disease. HPV screening is readily available from the obstetrics and gynecology team at Midatlantic OBGYN with locations in Centreville and Leesburg, Virginia. Learn more about HPV — the risks, its management, and prevention — by booking a consultation at Midatlantic OBGYN. Call the nearest office or schedule an appointment online.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. It’s easily spread by skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity with another person.
More than 150 types of HPV exist, and most don’t pose a serious threat. Although HPV can show as genital warts, many people who are infected with HPV have no symptoms and are unaware of it. This means it’s easily contracted and shared.
A few types of HPV can cause cancer, including cervical cancer, which is why HPV testing and prevention is so important.
An HPV test is done in conjunction with a Pap smear. This simple procedure diagnoses HPV, even if you’re not showing outward genital warts. The Pap smear involves using a swab to collect a sample of cells from your cervix. The cells are checked for irregularities, which can signal the presence of HPV.
If you have genital warts, the experts at Midatlantic OBGYN provide the medication required to clear them up. If your HPV test shows abnormal cell changes, you don’t have to panic or take action right away because it’s not a diagnosis of cancer. You should simply wait to be retested in 3-6 months to see if the irregularities clear up on their own.
If abnormal cell changes persist, the doctors may recommend a colposcopy, a procedure that allows for a more thorough investigation of the cells. A colposcopy involves using a tool equipped with a lighted camera to look at your cervix more closely. The doctors may also take a biopsy of the suspicious cells during this procedure.
Two immunizations are available to protect against the types of HPV that cause the most cases of HPV-related diseases and health problems. The HPV vaccine is given as a three-dose series over six months.
Gardasil protects against cervical cancer, vaginal and vulvar cancer, and genital warts, and Cervarix protects against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers.
Vaccinations are recommended for girls ages 11-12 years, so they’re administered before the girls become sexually active. Girls and women ages 13-26 who did not get the three-part vaccine when they were younger are also eligible.
For more information about HPV screening, contact Midatlantic OBGYN. Call the nearest office or book online today.