HPV, or “Human Papillomavirus” is a sexually transmitted virus with over a 100 different strains. Certain strains can lead to genital warts, whereas others, especially types 16 and 18 can lead to cervical cancer. If a person is infected with HPV, their immune system may be able to clear it. People with compromised immune systems (HIV/AIDS, long-term steroid use, or any primary immunodeficiency) are at higher risk for persistent HPV infection. A persistent HPV infection with the high risk strains will increase your risk of certain cancers. HPV 16 and 18 cause a majority- approximately 70%- of cervical cancers, while types 6 and 11 cause about 90% of all genital warts. Other high-risk strains include 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.
The two main symptoms associated with the HPV virus are itching and the appearance of small warts associated with a few particular strains. Most other strains of HPV cause no symptoms and women often find out they have HPV with pap smear testing. Advanced cervical masses and cancer related to HPV can present with abnormal bleeding making it very important to come to Dr. Sodhi for suggested annual exams. A pap smear and all follow up testing is performed by Dr. Sodhi according to the latest guidelines put forth by the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology. All follow up exams, testing and treatment for abnormal pap smears is also performed by Dr. Sodhi in our office.
The best way to treat human papillomavirus is to prevent it. Dr. Sodhi is an avid proponent of the Gardasil vaccine and we offer vaccination to all qualified women who have not yet received it or did not complete their vaccination. To avoid HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases, women should abstain from having unprotected sex with multiple partners. Although there is no cure for the virus, the outbreaks can be controlled, limiting the spread of the virus to others. We also offer specialized supplements for people with HPV that can boost your immune system to help your body clear the virus. If warts are present, Dr. Sodhi will often remove them in our office.