If you’re sexually active — even with just one partner — it’s smart to watch for signs of common STDs. You can treat many of them easily, and knowing if you’re affected by an STD prevents you from unwittingly passing it on to someone else.
But one STD, in particular, can be tricky to spot: human papillomavirus (HPV). That’s because of the 200+ types of this virus many come without symptoms, which is why screening is important. It’s even more important to get screened for HPV because certain types of this virus can develop into cancer.
Our team at Smart Clinic Urgent Care is here to help. As experts in STD testing, we can help you watch for HPV and other STDs. Additionally, we want to help educate you so you can watch for symptoms yourself.
Here’s your guide to your HPV risk.
The stats on HPV
HPV manifests in over 200 different forms, each with different symptoms — and many with no symptoms at all. With so many forms, it’s no surprise that HPV is extremely common.
The American Cancer Society says that the vast majority of people who have sex will get at least one form of HPV at some point in their lives (unless they get the vaccine).
And the CDC reports that nearly 80 million Americans live with HPV, with 14 million new infections every year.
So if you engage in sexual activity, even with just one partner, you’re at risk for HPV.
Mitigating your HPV risk
Most people who get HPV never know they have it. In many cases, HPV poses no threat to your health and doesn’t cause any symptoms.
But HPV can present two serious risks. Some types of HPV result in genital warts, and in some cases HPV turns into cancer.
Fortunately, you can do things to directly combat these risks.
Get the vaccine
The good news is you can take one simple step to avoid getting HPV: get vaccinated against it.
Once you get the HPV vaccine, you don’t need to worry about contracting or carrying any form of this virus.
This only works to protect you if you don’t already have HPV. That’s why health authorities recommend that kids get this vaccine at ages 9-11.
If you’re a woman, get screened for cervical cancer regularly
When HPV causes cancerous cell growth, it most commonly affects the cervix.
Women can get screened for this risk by getting regular Pap smears. Talk to our providers about the right Pap smear screening schedule for you based on your risk for cervical cancer.
If you want to learn more about HPV or schedule an STD test, contact us today. You can walk into one of our urgent care locations in West Covina or Canyon Country, California. We’re also currently offering telehealth visits.