HPV Tests for Women and Men

HPV Tests for Women and Men

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common STDs in the world. It’s actually made up of over 150 strains of viruses. Even though most of them are relatively harmless, it’s vital to notice some high- risk strains that are linked to genital warts and cancers. Moreover, there’s no cure for genital warts as well as cancers in last stages. Thus, you should get tested often to find out high risk strains of HPV before they cause serious health problems. Treatment also helps relieve your symptoms and avoid severe complications.

An overview of HPV

HPV usually lives in epithelial cells that you can find on the skin’s surface or on the surface of the anus, vagina, cervix, and the head of the penis. Depending on the strain of HPV you’re exposed to, HPV may cause warts on many parts of the body or cancers. About 60 types of warts on the hands or feet, and 40 strains enter the body through skin contact. Some other types of HPV may lead to cancers.

  • High risk HPV types. HPV 16 and 18 cause cervical cancers. In addition, HPV 31, 33, 45, 52, 58 and few others may lead to cancers.
  • Low risk HPV types. HPV 6 and 11 mostly lead to genital warts. You may notice bumps that look like cauliflower. They’re painless but pain during sex and urination can occur. Not all genital warts grow into cancers.

Related: 10 Warning Signs of Cervical Cancer You Should Not Ignore

High- risk HPV strains are linked to cancers

High- risk HPV strains are linked to cancers

It’s estimated that more than 50% of sexually active people are infected with at least one type of HPV, and 80% of sexually active women are exposed to the virus before they’re 50 years old. In addition, according to the CDC statistic, HPV is directly linked to 30.000 cancers each year in the US. While HPV is related to 96% of cervical cancers and 93% of anal cancers, it’s also associated with throat, penile or lung cancers.

The risk of genital warts and these cancer is linked to HPV strains spread through skin contact during sex. Moreover, other factors such as smoking, alcohol, poor diet and environment may increase your chance of getting cancers or develop recurrences.

Related: How Does HPV Cause Cancer?

HPV tests for women

Because of highly contagious viruses, HPV should be diagnosed and controlled. One of the best ways to find out HPV in women is Pap smear. The test should be done when you suspect you have HPV or during periodically gynecological exam. During a Pap smear test, your doctor will scrap cells from the cervix and examine them under a microscope to check. A visual exam is also practiced to identify genital warts. However, the absence of warts doesn’t mean you’re not infected with HPV. Sometimes, genital warts don’t show up symptoms though you’ve had the virus. HPV test is another test to check actual virus than for the cervical cells.

Females at the age between 21 and 65 are recommended to get HPV tests. However, HPV Pap smear test can vary by the age of women and other factors:

  • For women under 30s. They should get Pap smear test every three years. But, HPV testing isn’t recommended. As HPV infections are common in women under 20s and can be resolved by their own, long- term complications may be rare.
  • For women between 30s and 65s. Pap smear test is recommended every three years. Or co- testing with HPV test can be practiced every five years.
  • For women with HIV positive diagnosis. After the first diagnosis, Pap smear should be tested every 12 months. After 3 normal results, the test may last every 3 years as long as the results are negative.

Related: What Will Happen if HPV Goes Untreated

Pap smear test for HPV

Pap smear test for HPV

The HPV and Pap smear tests may take few minutes to practice and you’ll receive the results within 2 weeks. But HPV test results may be longer. The biggest risk factor of cervical cancer is the absence of cancer cells in regular tests. To avoid this, you should follow screening test regularly and ask your doctor if having abnormal symptoms.

HPV tests for men

Even though there’s no test for men, doctor may use visual exam and anal Pap smear to detect early anal cancer. Most HPV infections in men are showed up by warts on the scrotums, penis or anus. Based on your symptoms, genital warts can be diagnosed. If a wart is internalized, an anal Pap smear may be necessary to find out the virus.

The anal Pap smear test is similar to the Pap smear test in women as it collects a small sample of cells from the anus and rectum to analyze. However, the CDC advises against periodically anal Pap screen test in men as it’s not known whether treatment prevents anal cancer. Luckily, the CDC has issued a recommendation that the anal Pap smear test can be performed in gay and bisexual men. It’s because they have a 40 times greater risk of anal cancer compared with other people. Generally, HPV tests for men aren’t identified by insurance.

Related: STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) in Men: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention

Things for an anal Pap smear test

Things for an anal Pap smear test

Biopsy of genital warts

Your doctor may perform biopsy to diagnose genital warts. A sample of tissue can be collected to analyze in the lab. The tissue can be examined under the microscope and tell your condition. Biopsy of genital warts are performed if:

  • Warts are bleeding or have unusual appearance
  • HPV diagnosis is uncertain
  • People have HIV
  • Warts worsen after the previous exam

The absence of warts doesn’t mean you don’t get HPV, and abnormal Pap smear test also doesn’t mean you develop into cervical cancer. According to CDC, about 3 million women have abnormal Pap smear results every year. But, 12.000 people will progress to cervical cancer. Thus, all things you should do are to get tested often, follow screening tests and ask your doctor for proper treatment if necessary. For genital warts, doctors often prescribe antiviral medications. VidaroX is one of the best antiviral creams for genital warts. The cream contains powerful antiviral ingredients approved by the FDA. It’s safe and destroys the virus both on the surface and in lower skin layers. So, it’s hard for the virus from coming back.

Related: The HPV Vaccine: Why It’s Important For Girls To Receive It




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