Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV, is a type of virus that can be transmitted sexually and is very prevalent in the US population with over 100 strains in existence. It has been estimated that 75-80% of adults will, at some point before the age of 50, be infected with HPV. HPV in some cases can lead to genital warts, cervical pre-cancers, or cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina or anus. There are 2 predominant types of HPV: low risk which is associated with warts and high risk which is often found with an abnormal pap smear. Once contracted, HPV is fought by the body's immune system. We recommend taking a multivitamin with anti-oxidants, exercising regularly, and abstaining from smoking. Your physician may choose other methods to treat HPV in certain cases. There are currently two vaccines available for the prevention of HPV, which are often given to women between the ages of 9 and 26. The Guardasil vaccine offers immunity to HPV types 6 and 11 (low risk) and 16 and 18 (high risk). The Cervarix vaccine offers immunity to types 16 and 18. It is known that types 16 and 18 are responsible for over 70% of cervical cancers in the United States.