What happens if I am diagnosed with HPV?


Most women who are diagnosed with HPV are very upset and worried because it is a sexually transmitted disease. It must, however, be put into perspective that this is an incredibly common infection and is not a marker for sexual promiscuity or unsafe sex. In some studies on college campuses, 8 out of 10 young women have HPV. It almost behaves as a marker for having had sex.

Most women clear the virus on their own in a year or two via their own immune system. Very few women will develop warts or precancers or cancers of the cervix. That said, once you have been diagnosed with HPV, more gyn vigilance is necessary. Testing for other STDs (HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphillis, gonorrhea and chlamydia) should be done, safe sex practices and condom use should be encouraged, and if the pap smear is abnormal, appropriate gyn follow up should ensue, and in most cases, an office test called a colposcopy should be done.

Wendy Fried, M.D., FACOG, FACS, is an OB/Gyn with Northern Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC in North Hills, New York

Disclaimer: The information provided in this document is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Only your own physician knows all the important details of your specific medical and personal history and should be the only one to give you advice regarding your own medical care. You should never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice or treatment because of something you have read herein. If you have any questions whatsoever about your medical health or believe you have a medical problem or disease, you should contact your medical doctor or healthcare provider.