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Most doctors don't test for the two most common sexually transmitted diseases - unless you ask them to! Learn what to ask for during your next STD test.
Transcript: Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are passed from one...
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are passed from one person to another through sexual acts. Most STDs can be treated or cured, but without treatment, can result in illness or even sterility. Once you begin having sex, it's important to see your doctor, or go to a testing clinic, for STD tests at least once a year. This will put your mind at ease, or enable you to seek treatment for an STD should you have one. In addition to this routine screening, you should see your doctor immediately if you experience: Abnormal discharge from your penis or vagina, pain during sex, pain during urination, or growths on your genitals or anus, such as bumps, blisters, sores or a rash. However, some STDs have minimal, or no symptoms, and this makes routine testing absolutely vital for sexually active people. (Most STDs can be diagnosed via blood, urine, or cell samples. But here's where things get tricky: Most doctors won't test you for STDs if you don't ask, and not every doctor will test for every disease. That is why YOU need to initiate the STD talk with your doctor. Ask what she usually screens for in an STD test, and see if you're being checked for everything that you're worried about. Most insurance plans will cover STD testing, but it is also possible to obtain inexpensive or free tests from government-funded and independent testing clinics. Your local Planned Parenthood is a great place to start. A blood test involves taking samples of your blood from a vein in your arm and sending those samples to a lab for screening. Blood tests can screen for common STDs like HIV, the potentially deadly virus that causes AIDs; HSV, the virus that causes herpes; hepatitis B, a virus that inflames the liver; and potentially deadly syphilis. Urine tests are not as always as accurate as blood tests. They are, however, a way to screen for diseases like HIV, or gonorrhea, which can cause infertility or even death. A physical exam is another way in which a doctor can check for STDs. Because some STDs involve outbreaks, a visual exam may be all that is needed for diagnosis. STDs like genital herpes, syphilis, pubic lice, or genital warts, which are caused by HPV, can be seen with the naked eye. However, a follow-up test is usually ordered to confirm the diagnosis. For women, the best confirmation for many STDs is a swab test, which usually involves taking a sample of the cells in the cervix. A cervical swab can test for gonorrhea; Chlamydia, which can cause infertility; and the bacterial infection trichomoniasis. A pap smear, which is a similar procedure, can test for HPV, the virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer in women. STDs can be scary, but many are treatable. Ensure your safest, healthiest sex life by talking to a health care provider about regular screening for STDs!More »
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STDs affect women differently than they do men, so STD testing is a bit different for them. Get information about STD testing for women in this video.
Transcript: Women need to be tested for certain common STDs on an annual basis. But which ones? If you're a sexually...
Women need to be tested for certain common STDs on an annual basis. But which ones? If you're a sexually active female, it is vital that you get the most common STD test-a pap smear-annually. A pap smear tests for pre-cancerous changes in the cervix that stem from the common STD, HPV or the human papilloma virus. Women who have sex with multiple partners or have symptoms of an STD should also ask for annual testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia. If you test positive for either of these, it's also important to be screened for syphilis, hepatitis, and HIV. That's because having one sexually transmitted disease makes you much more susceptible to contracting another. And, of course, women should always see a doctor for testing should signs of an STD occur. These include unusual discharge and strange growths or ulcerations. Not having sex will unfailingly protect you from STDs, but that's probably not a choice you'll make-so always be safe!More »
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Knowing the facts about methods of STD prevention and protection is important for your sexual health. While abstinence is the only surefire way to prevent an STD, people who are sexually active may want to consider their options. To learn more about prevention and protection methods, have a look at this video.
Transcript: Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are an unfortunate side effect of many sexual encounters. The...
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are an unfortunate side effect of many sexual encounters. The only way to ensure that you don't contract an STD is abstinence. This includes abstinence, not only from intercourse, but from oral, anal and all other sexual contact as well. While abstinence is the only method that is 100 percent effective against STDs, for many people, cutting out sex play is not an option. For this reason, some people choose to have sex monogamously, with only one STD-free partner. It's important to be honest with your partner about your sexual history, and ask that he or she is honest with you. However, because people CAN lie about their sexual history...or their sexual present... STD protection is always advised. You can reduce your risk of contracting an STD by keeping your partner's bodily fluids out of your body, and asking your partner to avoid YOUR bodily fluids. This includes semen, vaginal fluids, blood and fluid from STD sores. Aside from abstinence, the only proven method that can help to protect against STDs is the male latex condom or the female condom. When used correctly, both male and female condoms can reduce the transmission of HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, Chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and pelvic inflammatory disease. They can also offer limited protection against other STDs, like HPV, herpes, and bacteria vaginosis. In general, condoms are more effective at protecting against diseases transmitted through bodily secretions, like HIV, than illness transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, like HPV. For a condom to be effective, it MUST be put on correctly. Condoms should be put on before any sexual contact is made. To put on a condom, unwrap the package and hold the condom up to the light. Make sure that there are no rips or tears in the latex. Then, unroll the condom over the erect penis to the penis's base. Leave about half an inch of space in the tip of the condom for semen. Immediately after ejaculation, a man should hold the condom's rim at the base of the penis and exit his partner. While the female condom is NOT as effective as the male condom at preventing STDs, it can be used in people who are allergic to latex. The female condom looks like a tube with two rings. The inner ring is inserted into the vagina as far as it can go, while the outer ring remains outside. After sex, remove the condom before standing up by gently pulling it out of the vagina. The only way to guarantee protection against STDs is to abstain from all sexual acts. If this is not your decision, talk to your doctor AND your partner about getting tested for STDs on an annual basis.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-13 | Tags »
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If you are living with an STD, you may be feeing many emotions. Watch this video to learn more about treatments and medications.
Transcript: You've just received your test results...and you have a sexually transmitted disease. While some STDs...
You've just received your test results...and you have a sexually transmitted disease. While some STDs can be cured quickly, and many can be treated, the emotions that follow may be tougher to face. First and foremost, know that having an STD does not make you "bad" or "dirty." STDs result from bacteria, viruses or parasites that are passed from one person to another. What this means is that SOMEONE ELSE passed an STD on to you. You "caught" it from a partner, much as you might catch the chicken pox! Once you are diagnosed with an STD, you'll talk to your doctor about the next steps. Some STDs, like syphilis, Chlamydia, and gonorrhea can be easily treated and cured with antibiotics, which means they will no longer live in your body. Other STDs will remain in your body for a lifetime, but their symptoms can be treated. These diseases include, but are not limited to, HPV, or genital warts and HSV, or herpes. If you have a "forever" STD, you may need to take medication either daily, or when your infection is active, for the rest of your life. You must also be aware that having one STD makes you much more vulnerable to infections from others. For this reason, it's vital that you engage in regular STD screening. There's another person you'll need to talk to, and that's your partner. Having sex without disclosing your STD status to him or her is not acceptable. You may be worried about the reaction you'll receive, but you need to remember that your partner deserves the opportunity to know his or her risk in sleeping with you. If you DO decide to have sexual relations while infected with an STD, it is vital to use protection, EVERY TIME. Aside from abstinence, the only method that can help to protect against STD transmission is the male latex condom, or the female condom. While these methods will offer SOME protection against the transfer of STDs, realize that they are NOT 100 percent effective, and an infection can still be transferred while using them. STDs that have physical symptoms, such as genital warts and herpes, are much more likely to be spread when a person is having an outbreak. For this reason, you might want to stick to cuddling when you're experiencing STD lesions. But as with all STDs, those that produce lesions can be infectious, even when an outbreak is not present. ... yet another good case for using a condom! If you're one of the millions of Americans living with an STD, you may find it helpful to reach out to a support group in your area. Individual and couples counseling may also help. Living with an STD can be frustrating, but it does not have to stop you from having a healthy, fulfilling sex life. Remember to talk to your doctor AND your partner about the best way to prevent transmitting STDs.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-13 | Tags »
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You can get a complete STD test through your insurance plan if you are covered. Check out our video to find out more about STD testing.
Transcript: You've been going to the doctor your whole life so you've probably been tested for stds before... Right?...
You've been going to the doctor your whole life so you've probably been tested for stds before... Right? Most doctors won't test you for stdsif you don't specifically ask and not every doctor will test for every disease. that is why you must initiate the std talk with your doctor. Ask what he or she screens for in an std test. A comprehensive test includes HIV herpes, syphilis Hepatitis B Hepatits C Gonorrhea, Chlamydia. Women can also request an HPV test. Keep in mind that the two most common stds, herpes and hpv are the two which doctors test for with the least frequency. Most insurance plans will cover std testing but it is also possible to obtain inexpensive or free testing from government fundedand independent testing clinics.More »
Last Modified: 2013-03-14 | Tags »
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HPV is one of the most common STDs around and Gardisil is here to help. Check out this video to get the dish on Gardasil.
Transcript: Both cervical cancer and genital warts are caused by a sexually transmitted virus called HPV. Today,...
Both cervical cancer and genital warts are caused by a sexually transmitted virus called HPV. Today, there is a vaccine that can protect some from this virus's effects! In 2006, the FDA approved Gardasil, the first vaccine to protect against certain strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Although there are over 100 strains of this virus, only about 40 are harmful. Gardasil protects against four specific strains of HPV, numbers 6 and 11, which cause 90 percent of genital warts cases, and numbers 16 and 18, which can lead to 70 percent of cervical cancers! Gardasil is approved for use in females between the ages of 9 and 26, although-since the virus is passed sexually-it's best to get vaccinated before ever having intercourse. Even if someone already has one strain of HPV, they can still get the vaccine to protect against the strains they don't have. The vaccine is given as a set of three injections over six months. Gardasil is not fully effective until all three shots are given. Side effects may include redness and itching at the injection site, as well as nausea and fever. If you're interested in getting vaccinated with Gardasil, talk to your health care provider!More »
Last Modified: 2012-12-28 | Tags »
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Although Trichomoniasis is curable, it can have a number of unpleasant symptoms. To learn more about trichomoniasis and sex, watch our video.
Transcript: You may not know much about Trichomoniasis, but you should. It's the most common, curable STD in women-but...
You may not know much about Trichomoniasis, but you should. It's the most common, curable STD in women-but it comes with some unpleasant symptoms! Although men can be carriers of Trichomoniasis, or trich, it's women who experience symptoms after contracting the disease. The first sign of Trichomoniasis is watery, bubbly discharge that may be greenish or yellowish. Both itching and pain that occurs during urination or sex can also be signs of trich in women. These unpleasant symptoms are often the most apparent immediately after you have a period. Like other STDs, trich is contracted by having genital-to-genital sex with a person who's infected. Interestingly, Trichomoniasis is particularly common in women who have sex with women. Once a doctor diagnoses trich, it is generally easy to cure the condition in several weeks with prescription drugs. But remember that sex is a no-no until the infection is completely gone-otherwise you'll have recurring consequences!More »
Last Modified: 2012-09-29 | Tags »
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If you are a sexually active male, then STD testing for men is strongly recommended. Watch this video and learn more about STD testing.
Transcript: The Center for Disease Control doesn't actually suggest routine STD testing for men...but wait! There...
The Center for Disease Control doesn't actually suggest routine STD testing for men...but wait! There are exceptions to every rule. If you're a sexually active male and you're not having any symptoms of an STD, you may not need to be tested. But, if your sex practices include having sex with other men-even once or twice-you do need annual screening, including testing for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Of course, it's also vital that you see your doctor if you're displaying signs of an STD. Doctors recommend getting tested if you have any unusual discharge from the penis. In addition, all warts, growths and blisters call for a check-up. Finally, the CDC recommends one HIV test at some point for all people between the ages of 13 and 64. The only way to be 100 percent protected from STDs is by never having sex-since that's probably not your choice, be smart about knocking boots!More »
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There are plenty of myths about herpes out there. Just how do you know what's fact and what's not? Watch this video to learn the top ten herpes facts you should know.
Transcript: There are 50 million cases of genital herpes in the United States alone, yet myths about the disease...
There are 50 million cases of genital herpes in the United States alone, yet myths about the disease abound. Here are ten facts you need to know. Herpes simplex is a contagious viral infection that can affect the mouth or the genitals. This disease often manifests itself as painful sores on either of these areas. Perhaps one of the most important facts about herpes is that it's contagious, ALL of the time. This is vital, because some people mistakenly believe that if they are not having an outbreak of sores that they cannot spread the virus. Ninety percent of people infected with the herpes virus are asymptomatic, and don't know they have herpes...yet still pass it to their partners. Herpes simplex is a virus that can be spread via the briefest of skin-to-skin contact. Kissing, oral or anal sex, touching with unwashed hands, and even sharing objects like drinking glasses and towels, can all spread the herpes virus. These high rates of asymptomatic herpes combined with the ease of spreading lead to the frequency with which genital herpes is found in the United States. While using a condom is a smart sexual practice, condoms do not necessarily protect against the spread of genital herpes. This is because the disease may be passed through contact with the thighs, pelvis and stomach. With these statistics in mind, you're probably eager to talk to your doctor about herpes simplex, and that's vital. Here's why: Most doctors don't test for herpes (even during a standard STD test) unless you ask them to. A blood test to determine if you are infected with the herpes virus, called a serology, is more accurate than the basic swab method. If you are considering pregnancy and do not know if you or your partner have been exposed to the herpes virus, it is especially important to find out if either of you is infected. That's because there is a chance that the active herpes virus can be passed to an infant during its trip through the birth canal. In some cases, your doctor may choose a cesarean section delivery to ensure that your baby is not infected. You may wonder why these precautions are necessary, since, while annoying and embarrassing, the herpes virus does not cause bodily harm beyond blisters. While this is true for you, newborn babies do not have the developed immune system that is needed to fight herpes simplex and may die if they contract the virus. If you have herpes, you are more prone to contract HIV and other STDs. Since your immune system is compromised because of the virus, it is important to be honest with your partner and discuss options to reduce transmission with your doctor. Finally, remember that either you OR your partner can have the herpes virus even if neither of you experience skin lesions! For this reason, it is absolutely vital to visit your doctor for a serology if you're sexually active. Doing so is worth the peace of mind, or medical help, hat will follow!More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-04 | Tags »
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Understanding HIV and AIDs is vital in preventing them from greeting you at your doorstep. Find out more about the risks and concerns involving HIV and AIDS by taking a look at this video.
Transcript: AIDS is a disease that represents the final stages of infection with an incurable virus known as the...
AIDS is a disease that represents the final stages of infection with an incurable virus known as the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. To understand how AIDS works, it helps to have a grasp of HIV. Simply put, HIV attacks and destroys cells in the immune system, much as an invading army might destroy a high wall that protects a city. With a weakened immune system, a person becomes less able to fight off infections, as an army would have trouble defending a city without a protective wall. Before HIV can attack, it has to get in. HIV lives in bodily fluids like semen, vaginal secretions, blood, and breast milk. A person who carries HIV can pass it to another through any of these, usually via sexual intercourse, breastfeeding, or the sharing of drug paraphernalia. Rarely, a person will contract HIV through blood transfusions. And while it is highly unlikely for people to acquire HIV through saliva, it is possible to pass it through oral sex. Once the virus is transferred, it attaches to its new host body's sex, or T-cells, which are integral parts of the immune system. Inside the T-cell, HIV literally changes to become part of the body's DNA, or genetic code. At this point, the body will be forced to produce the virus. Because HIV lives in the immune system, every time a foreign invader triggers this system to work, HIV is activated, too. This means that when "good" T-cells fight, for example, the flu virus, new HIV particles are formed. During the first days and weeks after a person is infected with HIV, he or she may experience flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, fatigue, and enlarged lymph nodes. These symptoms generally disappear without treatment. But, as the body is forced to create new HIV cells, the immune system gets weaker, a progression that can take from several months to more than ten years. Eventually, untreated HIV leads to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS. The name is appropriate: Acquired means to obtain an infection. Immune deficiency refers to weakness in the immune system, and syndrome is a group of problems that comprise a disease. AIDS is generally diagnosed by a blood or saliva test that measures the T-cells in a person's body. If the count drops below 200/mm3, the immune system is seriously damaged and unable to fight infections properly. A diagnosis of AIDS also occurs if a person gets one of 26 opportunistic infections, which are conditions common in advanced HIV patients, but rarely found in people with intact immune systems. Most people who die of AIDS do so from one of these infections. But while there is no cure for the disease, the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy has caused the number of AIDS-related deaths to decrease significantly. Over one million Americans are infected with HIV. Because 300, 000 people are still unaware of their HIV infection, getting tested and making sure you know your partner's status is essential.More »
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Anyone who has an active sex life should get tested for HIV. Watch this video to learn about testing for HIV.
Transcript: Before a person becomes sick with the potentially deadly disease known as AIDS, he or she must first...
Before a person becomes sick with the potentially deadly disease known as AIDS, he or she must first be infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. This virus is spread through the sharing of blood, breast milk, semen, and vaginal secretions. While anyone can contract HIV, some people have a higher risk than others. These include, people who have unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with multiple partners ...People who have injected sex with shared equipment, such as needlesPeople who have been diagnosed with another sexually transmitted disease, hepatitis, or tuberculosis... ...And anyone who has had sex with a partner who engaged in these acts. Men who have sex with men and people who have unprotected heterosexual contact make up 79 percent of new HIV cases, so these groups in particular should be tested regularly. When a person contracts HIV, his or her immune system starts to produce antibodies against the virus to ward off infection. Although these antibodies are not effective in fighting HIV, it is their presence in the blood that results in a positive HIV test. This test can be conducted at an STD clinic, a government funded HIV testing site, a hospital, or a doctor's office. The screen can be done in a number of ways, but the most common is a conventional blood test. In this case, a sample is drawn by a health care provider and sent to a lab for screening. A similar HIV test involves an oral fluid sample which is swabbed from the inside of the mouth before being tested. A slightly less accurate method involves a urine sample. In all three of these tests, results should arrive within two weeks, and a positive test must be followed up by a confirmatory one. This guards against the risk of a false positive. For individuals who are in need of very quick results, a rapid test is also available. In a rapid test, a blood or oral sample is collected and tested immediately in a lab. The results are available in as little as ten minutes. No matter the type of test, the procedure can be very scary, and for this reason, many testing centers provide counseling. If you'd rather not get tested in public, you have another option: home testing. It's important to know that only ONE home testing kit is approved by the FDA, the Home Access HIV-1 Test System. A home testing kit allows a person to prick his or her finger, place drops of blood on a special card, and mail the card into a lab. An HIV test can be scary, but a negative result will put your mind at ease. If your HIV test is positive, you have just taken an important first step on the road to treatment.More »
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The treatment of HIV has become advanced in recent years. Watch this video to learn how treating HIV can prevent AIDS.
Transcript: HIV is incurable and can lead to the potentially deadly disease AIDS. The GOOD news is that medications...
HIV is incurable and can lead to the potentially deadly disease AIDS. The GOOD news is that medications can slow the spread of HIV, and allow people who are infected to remain healthier for longer. To understand how medications work, it's helpful to understand the life cycle of HIV. This cyclical process begins when HIV enters the body and attaches to receptors on T-cells located in the immune system. One group of anti-HIV medications, entry inhibitors, stops this attaching process. An entry inhibitor binds either to the immune system's T-cells or to the invading HIV, thereby blocking the virus from bonding with healthy T-cells. Currently, the only FDA-approved entry inhibitor is marketed as Fuzeon, but others are being tested. Two other types of medication work to stop the second part of HIV's life cycle, reverse transcription. When HIV infects a cell, it copies its genetic code into that cell's DNA. As a result, the T-cell is "programmed" to create more copies of HIV. But because HIV is in the form of ribonucleic acid, or RNA, it must convert itself to the body's genetic make-up, which is deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, before it can infect the T-cells. This is what happens during reverse transcription. Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors, or NRTIs, are one type of medication that stops this process, by interfering with the nucleotides, or building blocks, that convert RNA to DNA. In this manner, the new DNA cannot be built, and a cell cannot produce more HIV. The first HIV drug, "AZT," or Retrovir, is an NRTI medication. Other FDA-approved NRTIs include Emtriva, and Videx. Another type of medication which blocks RNA from converting to DNA is called Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors, or NNRTIs. While NNRTIs have the same mission as NRTIs, they accomplish it differently. HIV cannot transcribe its RNA to DNA without the aid of a transcriptase enzyme. NNRTI medications attach themselves to this enzyme and prevent the virus from converting. Four FDA-approved NNRTI medications can help stop this conversion process. A final anti-HIV treatment works to stop the last step of HIV infection, viral assembly. During viral assembly, a strand of DNA is cut up and put together to form new copies of HIV. This process requires the help of an enzyme called protease. A group of medications called protease inhibitors, or PIs, block the protease enzyme from cutting up the genetic material that will become HIV, thus stopping new cells of the virus from forming. There are ten PI medications on the market, including Aptivus, Kaletra, and Viracept. For antiretroviral treatment to be effective for a long time, multiple medications are usually taken. Most HIV patients are familiar with the term HAART, which stands for Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy and it used to describe the combining of 3 or more HIV drugs. One drug, Atripla, which is known as the "triple cocktail" combines two NNRIs with one NNRTI. This medication is generally considered to be a once-a-day, all-inclusive HIV treatment. HIV treatment is an individualized process, so it's important to adhere to your doctor's instructions when taking medication to ensure that your body remains as healthy as it can for as long as possible!More »
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Something like 6 million people in the US have HPV. Because it is so common, understanding HPV symptoms and risks is vital to initial detection. Learn more about this condition by watching this video.
Transcript: Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a group of wart-inducing viruses that infects more than 6.2 million...
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a group of wart-inducing viruses that infects more than 6.2 million American men and women each year. About 40 of the more than 100 varieties are transmitted through sexual contact. There is no cure for HPV, but most infections clear without treatment in mere months. There are, however, several high-risk strains that can linger, causing precancerous lesions or full-blown cancer. These require immediate medical attention to control. The 40 strains of HPV that affect the genitals are passed through sexual contact. Symptoms do not need to be present to pass the virus to another person. HPV can be passed to and from the skin of the penis, vulva, or anus, as well as the linings of the vagina, cervix, and rectum. In rare cases, genital HPV can also be passed from mother to child during a vaginal birth. Since most strains have adapted to specific areas of the body, not all contact is a potential way to spread HPV. Hand-to-genital contact, for example, is unlikely to infect the hand. The most obvious symptom of genital HPV is warts. These pink or flesh-colored swellings are soft to the touch and may be flat or raised. Most genital warts are cauliflower shaped, or lumpy, with irregular edges. Genital warts can range in size. Some people have just one or two, while others experience multiple warts in one area. More likely, however, a sufferer of genital HPV will have no symptoms of the virus at all, and will remain unaware that he or she is infected. Whether symptoms of HPV appear or not will vary by strain. The type of genital HPV that causes warts, for example, wont also cause cancerous cells to form. But it is possible to be infected with multiple strains of genital HPV. Your doctor can easily diagnose some strains of HPV with visual observation of your warts. Other, symptom-less strains are tougher to discern. For women, a diagnosis of HPV is made with a Pap smear, an internal swab that is part of a normal check-up, and screens for cervical cancer. Many kinds of genital HPV cause precancerous changes in the cervical cells, prompting an abnormal test result. Following an abnormal result, the swabbed cells will be tested for HPV DNA to confirm the particular strain of the disease. Men, however, are out of luck when it comes to HPV screeningthere are currently no tests available for them. Without any visible warts, men must rely on regular physical examinations by a doctor to spot precancerous cells and growths. Although genital HPV is a commonand often symptom-free STDit can lead to serious health problems. For this reason, regular check-ups and smart sexual practices are vital once a person becomes sexually active.More »
Last Modified: 2012-12-28 | Tags »
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