HPV: The Most Commonly Transmitted STD
The human papillomavirus, widely referred to as HPV, currently affects almost 80 million men and women throughout the United States. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease. Chances are, if you are sexually active, you most likely have come in contact with a strand of HPV at some point in your life. While there are many variations of HPV, not every type poses a serious threat, and preventable measures are available to stop certain HPV-related health issues from occurring.
Causes of HPV
As with most other sexually transmitted diseases, HPV is caused by vaginal, anal or oral sex. When a person who is infected with HPV participates in a sexual activity with someone else, they can infect the other party – even if they don’t display any signs or symptoms. Whether you have one partner or multiple partners, it only takes one time to become infected with HPV. Unfortunately, there is no test to find out whether a person has HPV, but there are tests that can be used to screen for cervical cancer.
Understanding the HPV Vaccine
Vaccinating for HPV starts early – it’s recommended that both girls and boys between the ages of 11 and 12 receive their initial vaccination. For those who did not get vaccinated at this age, “catch-up” vaccines are advised for males up to age 21 and females up to age 26. The HPV vaccine also is highly recommended for gay and bisexual men through 26 years of age, and women and men with compromised immune systems. The latter includes those who have HIV/AIDS.
HPV-Related Health Issues
Even though there is a low chance that HPV will cause health issues, people infected with HPV still can be susceptible to genital warts. That is one of the more prominent symptoms that can be noticed in those who are infected. Genital warts are typically seen as flat or raised tiny bumps, or a group of small bumps, located on the genital region of a man or woman. More serious health problems related to HPV include cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, anus, throat and penis. However, those who are at risk for any of the aforementioned cancers generally have a different kind of HPV than the strand that causes genital warts.
Treating Conditions Caused by HPV in New Jersey
There is not a specific treatment for HPV itself, but there is treatment available for the health problems that it can cause. Genital warts usually go away with proper prescription medication and/or creams. Additionally, cervical cancer – and other HPV-related cancers – each have a specific treatment plan that would be discussed in-depth when a patient is diagnosed. Cervical cancer, however, is prevented altogether with routine pap smear tests, completed in our office.
At the office of Dr. Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. & Associates, we provide services for and the treatment of HPV-related conditions in Livingston, NJ. To schedule your appointment, please contact us today: (973) 716-9600.