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Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States, and it’s estimated that nearly 80% of sexually active people contract the virus at some point in their life. While an HPV infection can go away on its own, certain strains can increase your risk of cervical cancer. The experienced all-female team at Contemporary Women’s Care, with offices in Winter Park and Lake Nona, Florida, offers HPV testing, vaccinations, and management. To learn more, call the office today or request an appointment online.
HPV refers to a group of viruses that infect your skin. You can get HPV from skin-to-skin contact with someone who has it. There are more than 200 different strains of HPV, and most strains of HPV aren’t harmful and go away on their own.
Certain strains of HPV cause genital warts, which you may not like, but these strains of HPV are considered low risk. Other strains of HPV alter the cells in your cervix and increase your risk of developing cervical cancer, and are considered high-risk strains of HPV.
No, HPV doesn’t always cause symptoms. While you may develop genital warts with low-risk strains of HPV, you most likely won’t develop any signs or symptoms if you’ve contracted a high-risk strain of HPV. The only way to know if you have a high-risk HPV is to get tested.
Your provider at Contemporary Women’s Care can test for strains of HPV by taking swabs of cells from your cervix. You can get tested for HPV during your Pap smear. The HPV test looks for strains of the virus, while the Pap smear looks for cell abnormalities that may be early signs of cervical cancer.
There is no cure for HPV, but if you have it, the team at Contemporary Women’s Care monitors your cervical cells for changes with regular Pap smears and provides treatment as needed.
If abnormalities are found, your doctor may recommend a colposcopy, which is an in-office procedure that allows her to examine your cervical tissue through a lighted magnifying device. If abnormal tissue is found, you may need a biopsy.
Yes. It’s recommended that everyone between the ages of 9 and 45 get the HPV vaccine. This vaccine won’t protect you from all the strains of HPV, but can protect you from those that cause genital warts and cervical cancer.
For women between the ages of 15 and 45, the HPV vaccine is given in three shots over a six month period.
To learn more about HPV or to get tested, call Contemporary Women’s Care today to schedule an appointment with one of the experienced women’s health specialists. Or request an appointment online.