Understanding Your HPV Diagnosis

Understanding Your HPV Diagnosis

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the country. HPV spreads through skin-to-skin contact, and it’s so common that nearly everyone who’s sexually active gets it at some point.

Most types of HPV go away on their own. But certain strains of the virus are linked to cancers of the anus, cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, and throat. In fact, about 95% of all cervical cancers are caused by HPV.

Receiving an HPV diagnosis can be scary, but it doesn’t mean cervical cancer is inevitable. Our team at OB-GYN Associates of Marietta provides sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing and care for teens and adults.

If you’ve been diagnosed with HPV, it’s important to understand what your diagnosis means for your health — now and in the future.

HPV signs and symptoms

More than 100 known types of HPV exist in the world today. Most types don’t cause obvious symptoms. Many people never know they have the virus, and it’s very easy to spread it unintentionally.

A few types of HPV cause genital warts. These warts appear on the skin around your genitals and/or anus. Genital warts are common; about 360,000 people get them each year.

Other types of HPV can cause cancer. Unfortunately, these types usually don’t cause genital warts or any other noticeable symptoms at first. In fact, cervical cancer can take 20 years or longer to develop after HPV infection.

That means preventive care (like HPV vaccination) and Pap smears are the best ways to protect your health.

HPV tests

If you’re sexually active and you haven’t received HPV vaccination, talk to our team about getting tested. We’ll review your medical history, your lifestyle, and other factors to help determine your risk of HPV and related complications.

Visual exam

We can often diagnose genital warts with a visual exam. These warts may be flat or raised, large or small. Sometimes, the warts look like cauliflower.

Pap smear

It’s common to receive an HPV diagnosis only after getting abnormal Pap smear results. Regular Pap smears are the best way to screen for changes that could indicate HPV or a related cancer.

We take a sample of cells from your cervix and look for precancerous changes. If results are abnormal, additional testing is necessary. 

Abnormal results don’t automatically mean you have cancer. We can use a cervical HPV test to determine if you have one of the types of HPV that causes cervical cancer, or do other testing to identify cancer.

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Questions to Ask Your Potential Midwife

Are you interested in having a midwife for your pregnancy and birth? Midwives are trained medical professionals who offer personalized care, and it’s important to find a good match for you. Here’s what to ask when interviewing potential midwives.

How to Prevent or Manage Bothersome Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with the discomfort and embarrassment indefinitely. Get tips to manage bothersome hot flashes — or prevent them completely — from an expert gynecology team.

When (and Why) to Seek Infertility Support

Infertility can be an incredibly difficult and emotional experience — and it’s not always easy to know when it’s time to reach out for help. Get expert advice and find the support you need here.

What Is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

For a healthy baby to grow, a fertilized egg must implant in your uterus. But sometimes, eggs implant in your fallopian tube or somewhere else — resulting in an ectopic pregnancy. Learn how it happens and what to do to protect your health.