HPV testing can signal that you have human papillomavirus and thus an increased risk of cervical cancer. The physicians at Comprehensive Women's OB/GYN, with locations in Duluth and Dunwoody, Georgia, are board-certified gynecologists who specialize in the myriad conditions that affect women’s health, including HPV infections. They offer a full range of services, use the most advanced medical technologies and effective techniques available, and deliver on their promise to treat their patients with respect and compassion. Find out why they recommend HPV testing at your next appointment. Schedule your visit by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.
HPV stands for human papillomavirus. Among other issues, HPV can cause genital warts, abnormal cervical cells, or cervical cancer. There are numerous strains of HPV, but two — strains 16 and 18 — cause most HPV-related cancers.
HPV is highly contagious and spreads through close contact, including sexual contact. HPV, however, is not spread through casual contact, such as a kiss on the cheek. It’s commonly spread by vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
HPV testing will not reveal whether you have cervical cancer. Instead, the test alerts your doctor to the presence of a type of HPV infection that increases your cervical cancer risk. Knowing this helps determine the next steps to protect your health, which may include more frequent monitoring with Pap tests or treatment that addresses abnormal or precancerous cells.
HPV testing is most often recommended for women over 30 and those who have had an abnormal Pap test, showing atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS).
Having HPV does not mean you have cervical cancer. In fact, many HPV infections resolve on their own within a year or two. It can take cervical changes 10 years or more to evolve into cancer, which is why your Comprehensive Women's OB/GYN provider may recommend watchful waiting and close follow-up rather than immediate treatment.
HPV testing is normally done at the same time as a Pap test, during which your provider collects a sample of cells from your cervical region to analyze for abnormalities. The same cells collected for the Pap test can be used for HPV testing.
There’s really no preparation necessary. But, to help ensure the accuracy of the results, it’s recommended that you abstain from sexual intercourse and avoid using douches, spermicidal foams, or other similar products for two days before the test. Also, try to avoid scheduling the test during your period since that can make it difficult to obtain an accurate read.
For outstanding gynecologic care, including HPV testing, that’s delivered in a warm and welcoming, patient-focused environment, schedule your visit at Comprehensive Women's OB/GYN today. Call the office or request your appointment using their online scheduling tool.