Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
| Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common disease, and can be transmitted by having any kind of sexual activity involving genital contact; not just by having intercourse. In 2005 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 20 million people in the United States had this virus. Since many types of HPV show no signs or symptoms, it's very easily passed on without realizing it. There are many different types of HPV. Sometimes the virus goes away on its own, but certain types of HPV account for the majority of HPV-related clinical diseases such as cervical cancer, precancerous lesions, and/or genital
An HPV Test can be done during your annual pap test. If your Pap is clearly abnormal, or if testing shows you have high-risk HPV, your doctor will want to do another exam called a colposcopy to take a closer look at your cervix. If any moderate to severe cell changes are found, treatment can be started right away. Mild cell changes will likely be monitored for a while, since most will disappear on their own.
The HPV Vaccination, Gardasil, can protect you against the types of HPV that cause clinical diseases, if given before coming into contact with a person who has HPV. Gardasil will not treat cervical cancer and genital warts and does not protect against other types of HPV, or other sexually transmitted diseases. The vaccination is given as three injections over a 6-month period.
As always, please talk to your doctor if you have questions about HPV and/or the vaccine. To schedule an appointment for testing or for the vaccine, please contact our office.