Did you know that almost 80 million Americans have the human papillomavirus (HPV), and 6 million more contract it each year? These numbers make HPV the most common sexually transmitted disease in America.
Multiple types of HPV exist, and not all of them have symptoms. In fact, many people with HPV don’t know they have it and let it go untreated. This leads to the virus spreading to more people who may also go untreated.
At Progressive Women’s Health in Friendswood, Texas, Asia Mohsin, MD, and our entire team are dedicated to giving patients the best in comprehensive clinical care in a welcoming environment. Our compassionate team respects your privacy and offers confidential STD screenings to ensure your optimal health and treatment.
What is HPV?
The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a group of 150 related viruses. The different strains have different symptoms, and some have no symptoms at all. Some of the viruses can cause genital warts, some can cause cancer, but all are transmitted sexually.
Fortunately, there’s now a vaccine available for the cancer-causing strains of HPV. This vaccine is recommended for people under age 26, and Dr. Mohsin is able to administer it at your appointment.
How does HPV spread?
The human papillomavirus spreads through skin-to-skin contact. The most common way it’s transmitted is through vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse. Other than abstaining, there is no way to completely eliminate getting or transmitting the virus. You can, however, minimize your risk by using condoms and other barriers during sexual contact.
Factors that lead to an increased risk of contracting or spreading HPV include:
- Skipping regular OB/GYN appointments
- Lacking access to health insurance or education
- Being asymptomatic and not knowing you need treatment
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Not using a barrier method when having sexual intercourse
It’s possible to have more than one type of HPV and still be symptom-free. Sometimes symptoms won’t appear for years after you’ve been infected, meaning you could spread the disease to multiple people without knowing it.
What are the dangers of untreated HPV?
Fortunately, most strains of HPV aren’t deadly. In many cases, HPV resolves on its own without any treatment. However, some types of HPV can cause a number of health conditions, such as genital warts and cancer.
Genital warts can be removed by a doctor. Cancer is the most serious threat posed by untreated HPV. Without treatment, HPV can lead to anal, vaginal, penile, and throat cancer.
It’s important that you maintain regular OB/GYN exams with Dr. Mohsin. During your regular visit, Dr. Mohsin will check for signs of cancer and will run any necessary lab work. This can ensure an early diagnosis of cancer, which can improve your chances of successful treatment.
At Progressive Women’s Health, your health is our top priority. To learn more about HPV screenings and treatment, book an appointment online or over the phone today.