What is HPV?

April 4, 2022

HPV is one of the most common STIs among individuals in their late teens and early 20s. There are different types of HPV, and they can cause health conditions such as genital warts or even cancer but can be prevented through vaccination. This vaccine won’t protect you from HIV or HSV, however.

AFC Urgent Care Stoneham provides STD testing and vaccinations on-site. Our providers can discreetly test individuals for STDs and have results within 15 minutes, thanks to our on-site lab. Receive your necessary vaccinations in our walk-in center today. 

 

How HPV Spreads

Individuals can get HPV by having sex with an infected person, but you can also catch it through close, skin-to-skin contact. Like all other STDs, signs or symptoms don’t need to be present for someone to catch this condition. The only way to actually know if you are infected is by getting tested regularly.

It’s recommended for all preteens to get the vaccine at the age of 11 or 12, both boys and girls. If you haven’t received the vaccination before the age of 27, it isn’t recommended to receive it. If you speak with your healthcare provider about the benefits, you may still want to get vaccinated if you aren’t already. After the age of 45, most adults have already been exposed to HPV and won’t see any benefits from the vaccine. 

 

Potential Health Risks

Most of the time, HPV resolves itself within two years and does not cause any serious problems. However, in other cases, it can cause genital warts or cancer. Most healthcare providers can diagnose warts by simply looking at them.

HPV can cause cervical cancer, among others. It can take years after infection for cancer to develop. Genital warts and cancer are caused by different types of HPV. Doctors cannot tell you ahead of time who will develop cancer, however, it’s more common in those with weakened immune systems.

 

Avoiding HPV & its Risks

Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to avoid HPV. It can help prevent diseases and cancer if exposed. It’s also recommended to get screened for cervical cancer between the ages of 21 to 65. Routine testing is recommended every 3 to 5 years.

While condoms cannot fully protect you against HPV, they do help when used the proper way. Being in a mutually monogamous relationship can also lower your risk of getting HPV. The HPV virus can lay dormant in your body for years, so it is possible to get HPV years later while in a monogamous relationship.

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