Genital human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease. There are more than 40 strains of HPV, some of which can lead to cervical cancer in women.
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Understanding HPV Dr. Travis Stork: Dr. Lisa has one. This is from Deborah in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and she writes, “If a pap smear result comes back with high risk HPV, does that mean I have it?” Dr. Lisa Masterson: Generally, HPV -- it stands for Human papilloma virus, and basically, it’s one of the most common sexually transmitted infections that you can get, and it spreads, the virus infects the skin in the mucus membranes. Symptoms, most people don’t have symptoms. There are, sometimes, genital warts and then it can progress to cervical cancer but most people don’t have a symptom that’s why you have to screen for it. Sexual contact is the way that you get this infection. It’s an STI. The way that it causes warts and cancer is that what it does is it changes the cells, the cells grow out of control, and just like any other cancer. So, that’s why a pap smear works to help it to screen for cervical cancer. The best way to prevent HPV is by the HPV vaccine that you can get from 11 years on up. Also, by wearing condoms and decreasing the number of partners so that you decrease your amount of potential spread, and that’s not 100% but that’s going to help. The way that you test for HPV is your pap smear for cervical cancer, and what it does is it looks at the cells, and it also checks for the virus. The treatment for visible warts or genital warts can be freezing. It can also be TCA or Trichloroacetic acid, and this is an acid that can burn but it cures.
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