Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted disease, affecting about 79 million Americans. OB/GYN Michael J. Barnthouse, MD, tests for and treats complications of HPV at his practice, serving Johnson County, Kansas, and the greater Kansas City, Missouri, area. HPV may not cause symptoms, but some strains of the virus increase your risk of cancer, so getting tested is key. Dr. Barnthouse always calls you back with test results. Call or click online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Barnthouse today.
HPV refers to a group of over 150 related viruses that spread through sexual contact. They’re called papillomaviruses because some types of HPV cause papillomas, or warts. These warts are non-cancerous growths that develop on different areas of your body depending on the type of HPV infection you have.
Some types of HPV cause genital warts to appear on your vulva, cervix, or vagina, while other types cause plantar warts on your feet.
Most types of HPV don’t cause cancer, but some do. High-risk HPV infections that persist for many years can cause abnormal changes in your cervical cells that may become cancerous if left untreated.
Most of the time, your body defeats the HPV infection before warts appear. This means you or your sexual partner can carry and spread HPV without showing any symptoms.
In some cases, you may find out that you have HPV by the appearance of the following types of warts:
Another way to find out you have HPV is by getting abnormal results from a Pap test with HPV screening.
HPV is especially common in young adults. Of the 79 million Americans with HPV, most are in their late teens and early 20s. Anyone who’s sexually active is at risk of getting HPV, but your risk increases with multiple partners. Correct use of latex condoms reduces, but doesn’t eliminate, your risk of getting HPV.
Depending on your age and medical history, Dr. Barnthouse may screen for HPV at the same time as your Pap test. The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 30-65 get an HPV test along with their Pap test to screen for cervical cancer.
Since HPV is so common in women under age 30, the American Cancer Society doesn’t advise HPV testing for this age group unless Pap test results are abnormal.
Getting HPV and Pap tests as recommended by Dr. Barnthouse can dramatically increase your chances of preventing cervical cancer. Call or click online to schedule an appointment today.