As the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, human papillomavirus (HPV) affects approximately 80% of women at some point in their lives. HPV often has no symptoms and goes away on its own, but it can cause illness and put you at risk for the later development of cervical cancer. Get screened for HPV and receive a vaccine to protect yourself from the condition at Physicians for Women El Paso located in El Paso, Texas. Call the office or book an appointment online to learn more.
More than 100 types of HPV viruses exist, 40 of which are passed through sexual contact. HPV strains are the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States and they can affect both men and women.
HPV spreads through sex, including vaginal, oral, and anal. People with HPV often have no symptoms, so you may not realize you or your partner have it. It can be passed simply by genital touching and can be passed in same-sex relationships.
HPV often causes no symptoms at all. Regular Pap smears, which screen for cervical cancer, can identify cells on the cervix that have been changed due to infection with HPV.
Other signs of HPV include genital warts that are large or small, raised or flat, or cauliflower-like in appearance. You may observe the warts yourself, or they may be discovered during a pelvic exam.
HPV usually goes away on its own, but there is no cure. Treatment is available for the symptoms, such as cervical cell changes and genital warts.
A vaccine is available to prevent HPV. It’s recommended for children 11-12 years in age and is most effective when administered before the patient has had any sexual contact. The vaccine is available at Physicians for Women El Paso.
Avoiding all sexual contact and getting the HPV vaccine are your best protection against the viruses. However, you can take steps to minimize your risk of acquiring HPV, and these include:
Women should also avoid douching, which removes normal bacteria in the vagina that can protect you from infection.
The vaccine is effective against a number of HPV infections, but it does not prevent all types of HPV that cause cervical cancer. If you did not receive all the vaccine doses at the right ages or were vaccinated after already acquiring a strain of HPV through sexual contact, you may still have the virus.
Get screened for HPV and protect yourself from the virus by calling Physicians for Women El Paso or book your appointment online.