Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a serious personal and public health issue and is something that every parent and sexually active man and women should think about. At Alpha OBGYN in Alpharetta and Cumming, Georgia, Dr. Sowmya Reddy is committed to educating every woman in her care about the risks of HPV and offering diagnostic and prevention tools to help you stay as healthy as possible. To learn more, schedule an appointment today. You can reach the administrative staff by phone, or access the online scheduling tool 24 hours a day.

HPV stands for human papillomavirus and is actually a group of related viruses. There are more than 150 different types of HPV, many of which your body can fight off on its own with no health ramifications.

Certain types of HPV can cause genital warts and cancer. Those outcomes are why HPV is such a pressing health concern. HPV causes all types of warts, only some of which affect the genital area. Other HPV infections can cause cancer in your cervix, vagina, vulva, mouth, throat, anus, and rectum.

How is HPV spread?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 79 million Americans are infected with HPV. Infections can occur any time the viruses enter your body, and even skin-to-skin contact is enough to transmit the virus from one person to the next.

HPV is most commonly spread through sexual activity and is the most common type of sexually transmitted disease. It’s possible to get HPV through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Skin-to-skin contact in the genital region can also spread the disease.

How can I lower my risk of contracting HPV?

If you’re sexually active, you are at risk of contracting HPV. That’s true even if you use condoms, dental dams, and spermicide. You can lower your risk by reducing the number of sexual partners and by remaining in a mutually monogamous relationship in which both partners have been tested for HPV.

In recent years several vaccines have been developed to prevent the spread of HPV. These vaccines are most effective when obtained prior to any sexual activity, which is why parents are advised to have their children vaccinated during early adolescence. Both boys and girls can be vaccinated, and adults can also benefit from vaccination.

How is HPV treated

There’s no cure for HPV, and treatment efforts focus on addressing symptoms. Genital warts can be removed in several different ways, including treatments that remove warts by:

  • Freezing
  • Destroying wart tissue
  • Chemically burning away tissue
  • Laser therapy
  • Surgical removal

There are also medications that can help your immune system fight off an HPV infection.

If you’d like to learn more about the HPV vaccine, or you’re interested in diagnostic screening for human papillomavirus, book an appointment today. Online scheduling is one option, or you can set up your visit by phone.