Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease, affecting 79 million Americans, most of them in their late teens and early 20s. The good news is that HPV is easily detected, managed, and even prevented, with good medical oversight, like that found at Park Avenue Women’s Center in the Upper East Side of New York City. As gynecologists, Dr. Gila Leiter, Dr. Shari Leipzig, and Dr. Douglas Moss have extensive experience in managing HPV, from prevention to treatment. If you’d like to learn more about HPV or want to get tested, call the office located in Yorkville, Upper East Side or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.
There are over 150 different types of HPV, and most don’t pose any serious threat. In fact, most people who are infected with HPV are unaware of it, as their bodies fight off the infection on its own. Only a few types of HPV can cause cancer, including cervical cancer, which is why HPV testing and prevention is so important.
In most cases, an HPV infection doesn’t make itself known very readily. Some men and women develop genital warts, which your doctor easily treats. The only other way to find out whether you’re infected is through testing.
If you’re not showing any outward signs of HPV, the best way to find out whether you may be infected is through a Pap smear. A Pap smear is completely painless, as your doctor simply takes a swab of your cervix to obtain cells.
These cells are checked for any abnormal changes, which may signal the presence of HPV.
If you have genital warts, your OB/GYN at Park Avenue Women's Center provides the necessary medication to clear them up. If you don't have any warts, but your Pap test shows abnormal cell changes, there's no cause for immediate concern. You'll be promptly evaluated by colposcopy.
During a colposcopy, your OB/GYN uses specialized binoculars equipped with a green light to get a closer look at your cervix. Your doctor will also take a tiny sample of tissue for a biopsy to test for dysplasia, which indicates precancerous cells.
Most precancerous results do not require treatment. In certain cases, however, your OB/GYN must perform a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP), a biopsy to remove the abnormal tissue from your cervix using an electrical wire loop following application of an anesthetic.
More than 10 years ago, a vaccine called Gardasil® was approved by the FDA to prevent HPV.
More recently, Gardasil 9 was introduced and approved for use in boys and girls ages 9-26. This next generation vaccine is more effective against more strains of HPV, which is why the OB/GYNs at Park Avenue Women’s Center highly recommend its use.
To learn more about HPV, call the office or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.