“What is HPV” with Dr. Denise Uyar

“What is HPV” with Dr. Denise Uyar

There have been many questions about HPV and the vaccine. I asked our HPV and Gynecologic Oncology specialist, Dr. Denise Uyar, questions about HPV and the vaccine.

An interview with Dr. Uyar

Denise Uyar, MD is an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology and has been here since 2004.

Question: What is HPV?

Dr. Uyar: HPV stands for human papilloma virus. It is a sexually transmitted disease and is the most common one.

Question: How do you get HPV?

Dr. Uyar: HPV can be transmitted via vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms. Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person. You also can develop symptoms years after you have sex with someone who is infected. This makes it hard to know when you first became infected.

Question: What are the symptoms?

Dr. Uyar: There are more than 100 HPV strains so symptoms will vary. Often, there are no symptoms of an HPV infection, and the body clears the infection on its own in a few years. Many people never know they were infected. Some types of HPV can cause genital warts.

Question: What happens if you get HPV?

Dr. Uyar: Viral infections are often successfully managed by our immune system, but in some cases this virus can be present for prolonged periods of time in a person. Persistent infections have be associated with increased risk for certain pre-cancers and cancers, such as cancer of the cervix, vulva or vagina. In addition, HPV infections have also been associated with cancers of other areas such as anal cancer, penile cancer, and oropharyngeal cancer.

Question: How can you avoid HPV and the health problems associated with it?

Dr. Uyar: There are a few things you can do to lower your chances of getting HPV. 1) Using latex condoms 2) Having sex with a partner who has not had any partners before 3) Getting vaccinated can protect against certain strains of HPV.

Question: What is the vaccination and what does it do?

Dr. Uyar: Currently there is a prophylactic HPV vaccination that protects against certain strains.

Question: Should everyone get the vaccine?

Dr. Uyar: It is recommended and most effective in both male and female adolescents aged 11-12, but can be administered to males and females up to 26 years of age. It is recommended for adolescents primarily because it works better with the immune system of that age group and it works best before any exposure to the HPV virus.

Have more questions? Call (414) 805-4777 and ask for more information.