Did you know that nearly all men and women will have HPV at some point in their lives?
We’ll take a closer look at how HPV is transmitted and why you and your child should be vaccinated.
How Do You Get HPV?
HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact.
That means you can get it from having anal, vaginal or oral sex with someone who is infected with the virus. It’s important to note that most of the time an infected person will have no symptoms, so it’s not always obvious who has HPV and who doesn’t.
If you are sexually active, you are at risk of catching HPV—even if you’re only having sex with one partner.
Are There Any Symptoms of HPV?
As we mentioned earlier, sometimes there are no symptoms, so it’s difficult to determine if your sexual partner is infected.
However, when symptoms are present, they are typically indicated by warts.
The size and location of these warts depend upon what strain of HPV has caused the infection.
If you have HPV, you may show signs of:
● Genital warts
● Common warts – which typically appear on the hands and fingers
● Plantar warts- usually found on the feet
● Flat warts – men typically get these in the beard area while women are more likely to have them on their legs
It is important to recognize that the strains of HPV that cause common warts are different from the strains that cause genital warts. Having a wart on your hand or foot will not increase the risk of you developing genital warts.
Cancers That Can Be Caused By HPV
Certain strains of HPV (16, 18, 31, 33, 45) put you at much greater risk for several different cancers, including:
● Cervical cancer
● Vaginal cancer
● Cancer of the vulva
● Cancer of the base of the tongue
● Cancer of the back of the throat
These strains are not the same as the strains that cause warts.
Important Information About the HPV Shot
“The HPV vaccine is very important because HPV can lead to certain cancers,” said Dr. Miller. “The prevalence of HPV means it’s vital to ensure that you and your child are protected. The vaccine is most effective if given prior to exposure and younger people seem to retain protection better than adults. As always, we’re available to answer any questions that you have about the HPV shot.”
When Should My Child Get the Vaccine?
We suggest that children ages 11-12 receive two doses of the HPV vaccine. However, the HPV shot can also be given to those as young as 9. If your child starts the series of shots after their 15th birthday, then the dosage changes: They will need to have three doses given over the course of six months.
I Have a Teen Who Has Not Had the HPV Shot—What Should I Do?
If your teen hasn’t had the vaccine, please schedule an appointment with us so we can discuss the risks and benefits. Typically, we can easily schedule an appointment with you within two weeks.
Additionally, the FDA has approved the HPV vaccine for adults up to age 45.
For More Than 40 Years, Chapel Hill OBGYN Has Been Here for You
For over four decades, we’ve served thousands of area women, helping them maintain their health and sharing life’s joys and challenges with them.
If you believe you have signs of HPV, please contact us for an appointment. We’re always here to assist you, and we never want you to feel embarrassed to discuss any health issue with us.
See why our employees and our practice have been so highly rated as one of the best OBGYNs in the Chapel Hill, Durham and Triangle areas.
Scheduling an appointment is easy.
If you’re interested in learning more about HPV, check out the HPV information available through the Centers for Disease Control.
For more than 40 years, Chapel Hill OBGYN has served women in the Triangle area, sharing the joy of little miracles and supporting them during challenges. Our board-certified physicians and certified nurse midwives bring together the personal experience and convenience of a private practice with the state-of-the-art resources found at larger organizations. To schedule an appointment, please contact us for more information.