Educating yourself about various STDs/STIs is crucial if you plan on being sexually active. The more you know about them, the easier it is to avoid them in the first place, recognize signs/symptoms of them, and feel confident that you understand the resources available to you if you need testing, vaccines, or other treatment. Keep reading to learn about Human Papillomavirus. Human Papillomavirus is very common. Human papillomavirus is also called HPV for short.
What is Human Papillomavirus?/Is Human Papillomavirus viral or bacterial?
It’s a virus with over 100 different types that can affect people in different ways. Human Papillomavirus can cause genital warts in some types, others have no symptoms, and others still eventually lead to cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus.
Human Papillomavirus prevention/Human Papillomavirus and how it is spread
HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, or STI, that’s contracted through skin to skin contact. This means it doesn’t actually require sexual intercourse itself to end up with HPV. Something such as touching someone’s genitals with your hands and then touching yours afterwards could also cause it to spread.
The risk of infection is reduced by using latex condoms when engaging in sexual activity.
Getting tested for STDs and STIs on a regular basis can also help keep you aware of any changes in your situation after spending time with new partners. It’s best to seek out test results of new partners before engaging in intercourse so you’re aware of their health status beforehand as well.
Finally, getting vaccinated can provide protection. The Gardasil vaccine is also known as the HPV vaccine. It can be given to boys and girls before they are exposed to the virus to help prevent cervical cancer, vaginal/vulvar cancer, genital warts, anal cancers, and mouth, throat, head, and neck cancers.
It can be given as early as nine years old but is typically given between 11 and 12. It requires two doses, ideally given at least six months apart.
Even if you’re already sexually active, you can still benefit from the Gardasil vaccine. In fact, even if you already have one strain of HPV, you can still benefit from the vaccine because it can protect you from contracting other strains of the virus.
Is Human Papillomavirus genetic?
No, HPV is not considered hereditary since it isn’t inherited through DNA. However, it is possible for a baby to contract HPV from its mother as it passes through the birth canal during delivery, though the risk is typically low.
Are Human Papillomavirus and Herpes the same thing?
No. While both are common viruses and impact the skin, they aren’t the same thing at all. Herpes causes a distinctive outbreak that lasts 7-14 days and flares up from time to time. It’s treatable, though not curable, and doesn’t ever lead to more serious issues like cancer.
You can be diagnosed with herpes by getting the affected area swabbed and sent for testing or receiving a blood test.
Can Human Papillomavirus affect pregnancy?
HPV has not been shown to have a link between fertility, miscarriage, premature delivery, or any other pregnancy complications. Changing hormone levels may lead to genital warts growing larger/faster than usual if this is a symptom of HPV typically dealt with before the pregnancy began.
Is it possible to have Human Papillomavirus and no symptoms?
Yes. In fact, most people who have HPV don’t know they have it. This is because they never develop symptoms or problems from it. For some women, the first indicator of the problem is when they receive an abnormal pap test result (during cervical cancer screening). This is why knowing how to test for the Human Papillomavirus infection is important and why it’s vital to schedule your annual pelvic exams/pap tests.
While you’re getting your pap test, your doctor can either use the same sample to test for HPV or take a second sample to perform the test. Essentially they insert a small instrument into the vagina that collects cells from your cervix that can then be tested for the virus.
The purpose of the HPV test is of course to let you know if you have HPV or not but it also helps you and your doctor to create a more fine-tuned healthcare plan for you if your results come back as positive. If you have a type of HPV that puts you at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer, you might receive follow-up monitoring or more frequent testing in the future.
There is no Human Papillomavirus test for males, so it’s crucial to take this step as a female.
Can Human Papillomavirus be cured?
No. There is no treatment for the virus itself. But there are treatments for complications that result from the virus such as genital warts, cervical cancer, and other cancers.
Regular OBGYN visits can make a difference
No matter what your specific needs are, ensuring you have regular OBGYN care can make a big difference in your life. Empire OBGYN provides a wide range of services and is committed to making sure our patients receive the highest level of quality healthcare. Schedule an appointment today so you can begin getting the care you deserve and have peace of mind that you’re well-informed about your health.