What You Need to Know About HPV
Did you know that human papillomavirus or HPV is not one virus, but a group of close to 200 different strains of the virus? It is also the cause of most cervical cancers, about 99%. Most people know that HPV can be sexually transmitted, yet only some of the strains are dangerous to your health. In the past, it was thought that women were the most impacted by HPV, due to its link to cervical cancer, but it is now known to be linked to other cancers in both genders. Here are a few other facts you should know about HPV:
- By age 50, it is estimated that 80% of women have contracted HPV
- Most HPV infections are eliminated by the body’s immune system
- HPV can cause changes to the cells that can lead to cancer
- Types of cancer linked to HPV include cervical, throat, neck and penis varieties
- For males and females, using the HPV vaccine can prevent infection
- The HPV vaccine is not effective for those who already have become infected
- Early detection is the best solution for receiving treatment and preventing further health problems
For women that are sexually active and did not have the vaccine for HPV before they were exposed, routine pap smears are critical for early detection, as well as HPV testing. Changes in the cervical cells can be a sign of HPV infection and early indications of cervical cancer. Even those who have had the HPV vaccine should have routine pap smears, as not all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. The prevalence of the HPV virus is one more reason that women should consider regular check-ups with their OB/GYN critical for their health.
Posted on behalf of
Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.
699 Church Street #220
Marietta, GA 30060
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