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Understanding Your HPV Risks

Understanding Your HPV Risks

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of viruses that can increase your risk for serious health complications, including genital warts and certain types of cancer. Unfortunately, many people remain unaware of the dangers HPV presents.

At Alpha OB GYN, our experienced physician Sowmya Reddy, MD, FACOG, specializes in HPV testing and treatment services to lower your risk for ongoing health issues.

Dr. Reddy also offers preventive resources to stop the spread of an HPV infection to your sexual partner and others.

What to know about HPV

Your body’s immune system can effectively fight off certain types of HPV naturally. However, other types of the virus can lead to persistent symptoms and an increased risk for cancer.

Sometimes, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person can transmit HPV to others. Typically, HPV enters your body through vaginal, oral, or anal sex and can lead to cancers of the:

You can also develop noticeable warts on your genitals and mouth after making contact with someone who has an HPV infection. Genital warts can develop weeks, months, or years after an HPV infection. While warts are harmless, they are contagious.

Identifying HPV through preventive screenings

Two types of tests can identify HPV infections, and the cell changes the virus can cause. We offer both types of test in-office, including:

Pap test

A Pap test (also known as a Pap smear) involves a collection of cells from your cervix during a pelvic exam.

We use a small brush to collect the cells and send them to a medical lab to see if any precancerous or cancerous changes are present in the cervical cells.

HPV test

An HPV test identifies infection in the cells in people at high risk for HPV.

Because you can have an HPV infection without any symptoms, you must get tested regularly if you’re sexually active, even if you have protected sex with your partner.

Strategies to lower your risk for HPV infection

Any sexually active person can contract or spread an HPV infection, even when you use spermicide, condoms, and other safe-sex methods.

To lower your HPV risk, you should talk to your partner about monogamy, and both get tested for infection before having sex. If you’re not in a monogamous relationship, reducing the number of partners you have sex with can also be an effective way to reduce your infection risk.

In adolescents and young adults, HPV vaccines can help lessen the spread of HPV to others. Both boys and girls can be vaccinated against HPV before they become sexually active.

If you notice that you have genital warts, don’t put off a diagnostic evaluation at Alpha OB GYN. Dr. Reddy can assess your skin and complete an HPV test. Your partner will also need to get tested. We can customize a treatment plan to address an active HPV infection before you resume having sex.

To learn more about the available treatment options for HPV, call the Alpha OB GYN office near you or book an appointment online today.

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