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Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States, and it’s estimated that 80% of women will get HPV in their lifetime. At Advanced Gynecology & Surgery, serving women in the Greater New York City area, Faina Akselrod, MD, FACOG, FACS, and Genia Bekker, MD, FACOG, FACS, provide confidential testing for HPV, and offer vaccines that may help protect you against HPV. Call their office in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn to schedule your confidential appointment, or book your visit online for prompt treatment.
HPV refers to a group of more than 100 viruses, and more than three dozen can spread through sexual intercourse. In many cases, you may not know that you’re infected because the virus doesn’t always cause symptoms. HPV is most concerning for women because certain strains increase your risk of gynecological cancer, including cervical and genital cancers that affect your vulva or vagina.
Genital warts are a type of HPV, but not the type linked to cancer. Most strains of HPV go away on their own within two years without causing any health problems, but if your infection remains, your risk of health issues increase.
During your routine checkup, you can confide in the team at Advanced Gynecology & Surgery about your HPV concerns. Dr. Bekker and Dr. Akselrod can determine if you’re at risk of HPV during your Pap test. An abnormal Pap test may indicate an HPV infection and the need for further testing.
Dr. Bekker or Dr. Akselrod may also recommend an HPV test, which is a specialized way to look for the strains of HPV linked to cervical cancer.
An HPV infection is the leading risk factor for precancerous changes in cells of the cervix. These altered cells can turn cancerous if not treated, although it can take years, even a decade, for the cancer to form.
Researchers note two types of precancerous conditions:
If you’re between the ages of 21 and 29 and have an abnormal Pap test, you should get the HPV test. Starting at age 30, you should have both the Pap and HPV test during your annual gynecological exam. If both tests come back negative, you may not need another HPV test for five years.
You may be able to prevent HPV by using condoms during sexual intercourse. However, there’s still a risk. Getting tested and limiting your number of sexual partners may also offer you some protection against the infection.
Dr. Bekker and Dr. Akselrod offer the HPV vaccine, which protects you from the strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is usually given around age 11 or 12, and it can be administered up through age 26. The dose is usually given in two or three shots over a 12-month period.
For HPV testing and prevention, call Advanced Gynecology & Surgery, or book an appointment online.