Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very transmissible STD. Nearly 80% of women contract at least one type of HPV during their lifetime and certain strains increase a woman’s risk of cervical cancer. However, HPV rarely causes symptoms and most women are unaware they have the infection. At Philadelphia Women's Health & Wellness in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the experienced team provides HPV testing and management to support your health and wellness needs. To schedule an evaluation, contact the office by phone or online today.
What is human papillomavirus (HPV)?
HPV is a highly contagious virus with more than 100 different strains. In addition to causing various types of warts, about 40 strains of HPV are passed from person to person through sexual contact. These forms of STDs are called genital HPV.
Genital HPV can affect all people and is passed through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. You can also contract an HPV infection through genital touching.
How do I know if I have HPV?
Most strains of genital HPV don’t cause symptoms, so you may not know you have an infection until you get tested. Philadelphia Women's Health & Wellness conducts Pap smears and HPV tests to screen for cervical cancer and HPV.
A Pap smear is a cervical cancer screening test. The team at Philadelphia Women's Health & Wellness recommends you start your Pap smears at age 21 and continue regular screenings at least every three years until you reach 65.
The HPV test is similar to the Pap smear. During the HPV test, your provider collects cells from your cervix and sends them out for testing.
The team may recommend an HPV test if you have an abnormal Pap smear. The HPV test is also a routine part of your gynecological exam once you reach 30.
If your HPV test is negative, you may only need to repeat your Pap smear and HPV testing every five years. However, if your HPV test is positive, more frequent Pap smears may be recommended.
What are the health complications of HPV?
Most strains of HPV resolve on their own over time. However, certain strains of genital HPV increase a woman’s risk of cervical cancer, as well as other types of gynecological cancer like vulva or vaginal.
Some strains of genital HPV also cause genital warts.
How is HPV treated?
There’s no cure for HPV. However, you may be able to protect yourself from the viral infection by getting the HPV vaccine. This vaccine helps prevent the strains of HPV linked to cervical cancer, genital warts, and other rare types of cancer.
Everyone should get the HPV vaccine between the ages of 11-12. The FDA has approved the vaccine for people between the ages of 9-45.
To learn more about HPV, get tested, or learn how you can protect yourself, call Philadelphia Women's Health & Wellness or request an appointment online today.