Understanding the Risk Factors of Untreated HPV

Understanding the Risk Factors of Untreated HPV

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 79 million Americans are infected with HPV. Most of these people are in their teens and early 20s. There are many types of HPV, some of which don’t have symptoms. Many people who have HPV don’t know it, and don’t get treatment. They spread the virus to others, who also may not be aware, and also may not get treatment.

What is HPV?

HPV is a sexually transmitted infection. What is called HPV is actually a group of 150 related viruses that have different symptoms, or no symptoms at all. Some of the viruses can cause genital warts, and some can cause cancer. There’s a vaccine for the cancer-causing strains of HPV that Dr. Renan can administer. This vaccine is recommended for people under the age of 26.

How does HPV spread?

HPV is spread through skin to skin contact, typically through vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse. The risk for transmission of the virus can be minimized, but not entirely eliminated, by using condoms and other barriers during sexual contact. Because people infected with HPV may not have any symptoms, they may not be aware they have the virus and may pass it along to someone else without being aware of having done so.

What are the risk factors for HPV?

Among the many risk factors for HPV are:

Not seeing your doctor for regular screenings, visits that could help identify signs of HPV infection

You can be infected with more than one type of HPV at the same time, and possibly still not have any symptoms. It’s important to know, too, that symptoms can appear many years after the infection was acquired.

What are the risks of untreated HPV?

In most cases, HPV goes away without any treatment. However, HPV can cause a number of health problems such as genital warts that appear as a bump or group of bumps in the genital area. These warts aren’t considered dangerous and can be removed by a medical doctor.

More seriously, an untreated HPV infection can lead to anal, vaginal, penile, and throat cancer. It’s important that you have a doctor examine you regularly for any signs of cancer to diagnose it early, improving the chances of successful treatment.

If you want peace of mind regarding a possible HPV infection, call or click today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Renan.

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