The human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, is a viral infection that causes the growth of genital warts. It can also lead to cancer in some women, which is why gynecologists advise all patients to get immunizations. To keep you safe and healthy, here’s more information about this condition and how to avoid it.
How Do People Catch HPV?
Sexual intercourse can pass this virus from one person to another. As a result, a person’s risk increases the more partners they have. Risk also increases when having sex with a person that has multiple sexual partners. People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV, are also at a greater risk.
How Is It Detected?
In some cases, men and women with HPV have no symptoms. When it’s sexually transmitted, it can cause genital warts, which are small, painless bumps. If no warts are present, a gynecologist may perform an acetic acid solution test to identify microscopic lesions that point to HPV.
In women, this virus can lead to cervical cancer. Since it can take up to 20 years for these cancer symptoms to present, you must visit your gynecologist for regular Pap smears, which locate abnormal cervical cells to diagnose cervical cancer.
How Can I Avoid It?
The HPV vaccine prevents the spread of certain types of the virus known to cause cervical cancer. As a result, the vaccine is recommended for children ages 11 to 12 to ensure they’re protected before becoming sexually active. Men should also be inoculated to avoid spreading the condition. Use of condoms during sex is recommended to minimize skin contact. However, keep in mind that this only lowers a woman’s risk of acquiring HPV, and only abstinence can completely prevent it.
For Pap smears and other women’s health services, visit Genesee Valley Obstetrics & Gynecology PC in Rochester, NY. These gynecologists provide information on birth control, perform breast cancer screenings, and offer prenatal exams. They also give patients convenient access to their medical records in their patient portal. Learn more about what they do online, or call (585) 232-3210 to schedule an appointment.