HPV (human papillomavirus) is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in America today, affecting more than 79 million people. Dr. Marc Jean-Gilles and the team at Abundant Life Healthcare in Lawrenceville, Georgia, offer screenings for HPV and other STDs, as well as treatments to manage the disease and its side-effects. Call or book an appointment online today.
HPV is a collection of STDs that can cause symptoms ranging from genital warts to cervical cancer. According to the CDC, it’s the most common STD in America, affecting over 79 million people who are mostly in their late teens and early 20s.
HPV is spread through vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse. You can protect yourself by practicing safe sex, and a vaccine that protects you from many strains of HPV is available at the practice.
HPV is typically diagnosed during your Pap smear. Dr. Jean-Gilles can also diagnose HPV by examining your warts. He may also use a vinegar solution test, which turns HPV infected skin white. This is helpful when the warts are flat and not easily seen.
If your Pap smear has abnormal results, Dr. Jean-Gilles performs a colposcopy to diagnose the cause of results, which can confirm HPV.
A colposcopy is a diagnostic procedure where Dr. Jean-Gilles uses a special microscope to examine the cells on your cervix.
During a colposcopy, you recline on a treatment table, like you would during a Pap smear. Dr. Jean-Gilles uses a speculum to gently open your vagina, then looks through the colposcope — which stays on the outside of your body — to look at your cervix.
The process only takes about 10 minutes and shouldn’t cause any discomfort.
There is no cure for HPV, although treatments are available to reduce genital warts.
You’ll need to have annual Pap smears to monitor for precancerous cells, which are often easily removed when diagnosed early. Precancerous cells are removed with laser treatment, cryotherapy, or a minor surgical procedure.
In general, you should follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid using tobacco products to keep your body as healthy as possible to prevent wart outbreaks.
The HPV vaccine is available for women who are under the age of 26 and don’t already have HPV. Most girls have a two-dose HPV vaccination when they are 11-12 years old. Men can be vaccinated until the age of 21.
If you’re concerned about HPV or other STDs, call or make an appointment online today to get tested.