There are more than 100 different types of human papilloma virus (HPV).
HPV is so prevalent that almost every man and woman who is sexually active
will contract at least one form of the virus at some point. Some types
of HPV can cause serious health problems, while others are relatively
benign and may not even cause symptoms. Since everyone who is sexually
active is at risk of contracting HPV, it’s a good idea to consult
a gynecologist about its risks and, if necessary,
Identifying the Health Risks of HPV
Often, HPV does not cause any health problems and it can go away on its
own. Other people experience health problems from HPV, such as genital
warts, and oral and upper respiratory lesions. Additionally, certain types
of cancer may be caused by HPV infection. In fact, most cases of cervical
cancer are attributable to just two types of HPV, which are not the same
types that cause genital warts. These forms of HPV can also cause oropharyngeal,
penile, anal, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. An individual with HPV may
be more likely to develop health problems, including cancer, if he or
she has a suppressed immune system.
Reducing Your Risk of Acquiring HPV
You can talk to your gynecologist about
reducing your risk of HPV. It’s highly advisable to use latex condoms during sexual intercourse,
even if you’re using another birth control method such as the pill.
However, be aware that HPV can infect areas of the body other than the
reproductive organs. Being in a monogamous relationship can also lower
the risk. Additionally, gynecologists urge males and females to get vaccinated
for the types of HPV that can cause cancer. The HPV vaccine is indicated
for boys and girls who are 11 to 12 years of age, and for men up to 21
years of age and women up to 26 years of age.
Women who require HPV treatment in Washington, D.C. can turn to
Washington Surgi-Clinic for compassionate, confidential care. Our highly qualified gynecology
team provides an array of women’s health services, including pregnancy
termination. If you have any questions, call (202) 683-7336 and speak
with a friendly staff member.