Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Every year there are 14 million new HPV infections. HPV also known as human papillomavirus is a virus that can cause certain cancers and diseases in both men and women. Unfortunately, because HPV often has no signs or symptoms, many people who have the virus are unaware.
HPV is transmitted through vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex. Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person.
In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. However HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems such as genital warts and cancer.
- Genital warts- usually appear as a small bump or groups of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. A healthcare provider can usually diagnose warts by looking at the genital area.
- Cervical cancer- usually does not have symptoms until it is quite advanced, very serious and hard to treat.
Some health effects caused by HPV can be prevented with vaccines. The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. Catch-up vaccines are recommended for males through age 21 and for females through age 26, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger.
If your teen hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet, talk to their doctor or nurse about getting it for them as soon as possible. For more information about preventing and treating HPV please visit: http://www.hpv.com/what-is-hpv/
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.