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Ask Dr. K

I just got treated for genital warts. I have to go back in 6 weeks for a check up. Does this mean that I still have HPV or does my treatment prevent me from getting it again?

Nope. Currently, there is no cure for HPV infections. But there is treatment available for the symptoms, and depending on where you go, various treatments MAY be offered. The goal of any treatment should be to get rid of annoying symptoms.

For most people infected with HPV, nothing will happen. The body's immune system eliminates the HPV infection. There are a few types classified as high risk, which can cause changes in the cells of the cervix (opening to the uterus) or the cells of the anus and could lead to cancer. Not everyone who has HPV will have visible warts. If you do, the warts may appear as wart-like growths or may be flat and only slightly raised from the skin. They may be single or multiple, small or large. They tend to be flesh-colored or whitish in appearance. Warts usually do not cause itching or burning.

Besides getting the shot for HPV (vaccine currently available for women under 26 years old) using condoms consistently is the best way to reduce the chance of getting or giving HPV. Itís important to talk to your partners about HPV if you know you have it, and find the prevention method that both partners are comfortable with. Then get back to having fun!

Check out the CDCís fact sheet for more information about HPV.

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Thursday, November 19, 2009.
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