HPV Screening in Leesburg
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is America’s most prevalent sexually transmitted disease (STD), affecting more than 79 million people in the United States. There are over 200 types of this disease, making it critical to undergo HPV screening in Leesburg.
HPV is typically not dangerous and resolves itself in time. However, some forms can lead to cervical cancer, genital warts, or other serious health problems. In addition, many people with HPV are asymptomatic, so it is important to get regular screenings. To learn more about screening for this disease, contact our gynecology offices in Leesburg or Centreville.
Why Get an HPV Test?
While there is no known cure for the human papillomavirus, when someone in Leesburg or Centreville undergoes screening this can help prevent the spread of the disease through early detection and guide a potential treatment plan.
One of the most important reasons for someone to get an HPV test is that it screens for the types of virus that can lead to cervical cancer. Several types of the human papillomavirus can cause cancer, but HPV types 16 and 18 most commonly lead to cervical cancer. This disease can also cause cancer in the anus, mouth, penis, throat, vagina, and vulva. It is important to note that these screenings cannot determine whether a patient has cancer or not. HPV types 6 and 11 are frequent causes of genital warts. While genital warts can be a nuisance, the types of this disease that lead to warts are considered low risk.
Doctors do not recommend routine HPV screening for patients under age 30. HPV quickly spreads via sexual, skin-to-skin contact. Therefore, young people who are more sexually active are more likely to acquire the human papillomavirus. Most HPV infections go away without symptoms or treatment. Despite this, cervical cancers can take several years to develop, and a doctor or nurse should monitor for irregular development.
There is no HPV test for men. Currently, only women can get screened for HPV. A gynecologist may order an HPV screening as a follow-up to an irregular pap smear. These tests can also take place during a pap test.
What Happens During an HPV Screening in Leesburg?
HPV screenings also may be part of a patient’s routine check-up in Leesburg and Centreville. A doctor or nurse will insert a speculum into the vagina. The metal or plastic speculum separates the walls of the vagina, exposing the cervix. The medical professional then takes a sample of cells from the cervix using either a spatula or brush, and then a lab will test the cells for irregularities.
Gathering the cell sample for an HPV screening should only take a few minutes. The patient may feel slight pressure or discomfort when the doctor or nurse opens the speculum, but there should be no pain. Similarly, the patient may feel a slight scratching sensation when the cells are removed with the brush or spatula.
Human Papillomavirus Prevention
HPV has no cure, but prevention is possible. One way to prevent HPV infection is to practice safe sex. Condoms can help sexually active individuals prevent the spread of this disease through skin-to-skin contact.
Currently, there are two vaccines for human papillomavirus infections. Gardasil (and Gardasil 9) protect against HPV types that can lead to genital warts. Cervarix protects against HPV 16 and 18, which can cause cervical cancer. Gardasil has approval for male and female patients. Cervarix has approval for genetic females only.
Learn More About Human Papillomavirus Screening in Leesburg
If you would like to learn more about HPV screening in Centreville or Leesburg, speak with a OBGYN from our team today. Our medical professionals could explain this process and its benefits. To schedule your test, call our offices in Leesburg or Centreville today.