HPV or human papillomavirus is a potentially severe virus that can lead to certain forms of cancer in both females and males. The virus is a sexually transmitted disease and can be passed between partners during different sexual behaviors, including skin-to-skin genital contact and sexual intercourse. The use of condoms is important during sexual activity to reduce the risk of contracting this potentially deadly disease but does not entirely remove your risk of contracting this virus. Contact All Women’s Care in Los Angeles, to get more information on prevention and care for HPV.

Different Forms of HPV

There are different forms of HPV, and some of them will disappear on their own over time. It is estimated that more than 80 million Americans have this infection with more than 14 million becoming newly infected every year. Studies have shown that most sexually active people will contract this infection at some point in life. HPV is one of the fastest and easiest viruses to contract and can spread through skin-to-skin sexual contact.

There are an estimated thirty different types of the HPV virus, all spread through genital contact, and each named with a number. The number associated with each signifies what order it was discovered. The forms of HPV have been divided into two separate groups- low risk and high risk.

  • Low-Risk HPV

In the low-risk category, there are approximately twelve types of the HPV virus. They have been labeled as ‘low-risk’ as they are not known to cause cancer in someone who contracts the disease. These strains can; however, cause genital warts or minor cell changes in those who contract the disease. Low-risk HPV types include:

  • 6,11,42,42,43,44,53,61,72,73, and 81
  • Types 6 and 11 are most often linked to genital warts.

There are not always symptoms associated with the contraction of HPV, which causes many people to be unaware they have it. Your body builds immunity to the virus, which causes the symptoms to disappear. Ninety percent of new HPV infections will go away or be undetectable after two years of contracting it. It is the HPV infections that stay in the body that lead to complications, one of them being genital warts.

Genital warts can be large or small and are either raised or flat emerging as a single wart or a cluster of them on the penis or a woman’s genitals. These warts are soft growths caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and are often uncomfortable, painful, and itchy.

Genital warts can be transmitted through oral, vaginal, and anal sex, and may not appear until weeks or months after your sexual contact. This condition may not be visible to the naked eye as warts start to appear small in size, are the color of your skin, or could be slightly darker. The top of warts resemble cauliflower and will feel either slightly bumpy or smooth. Detecting them is not easy as they can also appear as a single wart, or a cluster of them together.

  • Male genital warts appear on the:


Around or inside the anus




  • Female genital warts appear on the:


Outside of the anus or vagina

Inside the anus or vagina

These warts can also appear on the mouth, tongue, lips, or throat if contracted through oral sex on both males and females.

Even though genital warts cannot be seen by the naked eye right away, their symptoms will alert you to their presence. You may experience:

  • Itching
  • Burning sensations
  • Bleeding where they are developing
  • Vaginal discharge

These warts will become enlarged and spread, making the condition increasingly painful and uncomfortable.

HPV 6 and 11 are two of the low-risk forms which have been linked to more than ninety percent of genital warts. HPV 11 can also cause changes in the cervix, including mild cervical dysplasia and abnormal changes to your cells located on the surface of the cervix.

  • Cervical Dysplasia

Cervical dysplasia is where abnormal cell growth occurs on the lining of the cervix surface. It can also affect the endocervical canal and the opening between the vagina and the uterus. There are no symptoms with this happening to the cells, and you will only detect it through a Pap test performed by your physician at All Women’s Care.

If the condition is not diagnosed and treated, you become more at risk for developing cervical cancer. Mild cases sometimes resolve themselves without being treated, but your doctor should be monitoring its progression. In the moderate-to-serious cases, ones that persist for more than two years will typically require treatment from your physician to remove the abnormal cells to reduce your risk of cervical cancer.

  • High-Risk HPV

In the high-risk category of HPV, there are about thirteen strains that can cause abnormal cells to form on the cervix. The abnormal cells will eventually turn into cervical cancer if they are not treated. High-risk forms of HPV include:

  • Type 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51,52, 56, 58, 59, and 68.
  • Types sixteen and eighteen are the most dangerous strains as they are responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. The American National Cancer Institute discovered almost ten percent of women with HPV 16 or 18 developed precancerous cervical cancer within three years, and there was twenty percent who developed it in ten years.

With high-risk HPV, there is a more significant threat of more extensive cervical dysplasia and other forms of cancer. There are at least twelve high-risk strains of this infection; however, types sixteen and eighteen cause the most cases of HPV related cancers. These cancers involve the vagina, vulva, penis, cervix, and anus. These strains can also lead to cancer of the tongue, throat, and tonsils and are known as oropharyngeal cancer.

Studies show that HPV infections occur in the mouth and throat through oral sexual contact with someone who has an active infection at the high-risk level.

Who is in Danger of Getting HPV?

Having genital contact with someone else puts you in danger of getting HPV. Women and men have an equal risk of contracting this virus and passing it on to their partners without even knowing it. The HPV virus does not always have signs or symptoms; therefore, someone could have passed it on to another even if years have passed since they had sex. Those most likely to contract HPV are:

  • Those who have sex at an early age
  • A sex partner who has had sexual activity with numerous partners
  • Anyone who has multiple sex partners

If the Virus has no Signs or Symptoms, Why Should You Worry?

Because there are many strains of HPV, not all of them causing serious health problems, some people feel they don’t have to worry about contracting the disease. The problem is, you don’t know which strain is going to affect you, and without taking precautions to practice safe sex, you are always at risk for developing genital warts, or the type of HPV that can cause cancer.

Can You Test for HPV?

There are tests for HPV to determine if you contracted the strain that can lead to cervical cancer. The FDA has approved an HPV test for women over twenty years of age. The test is able to check for HPV before it makes changes to a woman’s cervix. This test is called a Pap Smear or Pap Test.

  • Pap Smear

A Pap test or Pap smear is a procedure to screen for cervical cancer. It is performed by your physician at All Women’s Care and will look for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells inside your cervix, which is the opening into your uterus.

The test involves gently scraping away cells inside the cervix and checking them for abnormal growth. The procedure does not cause any long-term pain and is only mildly uncomfortable as your physician gently uses a medical instrument to remove enough cells to send to the lab where it will be checked under a microscope to check for any abnormalities.

Currently, it is recommended that women begin getting regular Pap smears every three years, starting at the age of 21. Talk with your doctor regarding any family history of cancer, as they may want to suggest you receive one more often. Discuss your sexual activity with your doctor as well, so they can help you set up a schedule for when it would be best for you to receive these tests and other screenings.

Women who generally need to have a Pap smear more frequently are those:

  • Who has tested positive for HIV
  • Those receiving chemotherapy treatments and have a weakened immune system or who have received an organ transplant

Once you have reached the age of thirty and have not had an abnormal test, your doctor may suggest having a Pap smear every five years instead of every three and having it combined with an HPV screening.

Women who reach the age of 65 and have had no abnormal Pap smear tests are able to stop being tested.

When Should You be Tested for HPV?

It is recommended that a person have a test for HPV every five years, for women, this test is typically conducted with a Pap smear. There are no recommended tests for men as the only ones on the market at this time are those detecting cervical cancer in women. Screening for anal cancer is recommended by some of the experts, especially in men who are bisexual, gay, or have tested positive for HIV.

There is no approved testing method released at this time to find genital warts on either females or males; however, once they are detected, the symptoms can be treated.

How Can You Reduce Your Risk of HPV?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a vaccine that can prevent certain diseases, including cervical cancer. Your doctor at All Women's Care can discuss these vaccines with you and explain the process of receiving the proper dosage for the right protection.

There are other ways in which you can take precautions to prevent contracting HPV along with getting the vaccine.

  • You can make a choice not to have sex or abstain from sexual activity
  • You can limit the number of sexual partners you have
  • You can choose a partner who has had a limited number of sexual partners
  • Using condoms is not a sure way to reduce the contraction of HPV as they only cover a specific area of the skin. Areas that are not covered are exposed to the virus. Condoms do have other safety precautions against other sexually transmitted diseases and should be used for those protections as well.
  • What is a condom?

Condoms are thin pieces of latex, polyurethane or polyisoprene which are worn over the man’s penis during sex, either vaginal or oral. The condom prevents pre-ejaculatory fluid or the man’s semen from entering their partner's vagina, anus, or mouth. Condoms can be made from natural skin; however, only the polyisoprene, polyurethane, or latex versions will prevent the transmission of sexual diseases. You can find them in most supermarkets, pharmacies and many restrooms dispensary units.

Is There a Vaccine to Prevent HPV?

The HPV vaccine Gardasil 9 has shown in clinical trials to be effective in protecting against HPV strains 6 and 11 almost ninety-nine percent of the time. The study was performed on those between the ages of 9 to 26-year-old.

The vaccine is recommended before a person becomes sexually active as the vaccine cannot protect against a strain that already exists in a person’s system. If you have contracted either strain 6 or 11 HPV, check with your doctor at All Women’s Care about receiving medications such as Condylox, Aldara, or Zyclara, to treat the symptoms.

  • Gardasil 9

Gardasil 9 is a vaccine for the prevention of certain strains of HPV and is a sterile preparation that is injected into your muscle. The vaccine contains inactive purified proteins from HPV strains 6, 11, 16, and 18. The proteins contained in Gardasil are virus-like structural proteins that appear like the virus itself. Proteins in the vaccine are able to activate the immune system but are not able to allow it to duplicate or replicate the virus.

The proteins used in the vaccine are created in yeast cells using recombinant technology. When they are released from the yeast cells, they are purified and then combined with a catalyst and a purification buffer.

The Gardasil vaccine stimulates the immune system to attack HPV strains 6, 11, 16, and 18. Once in your system, your immune system recognizes the viral protein as a foreign substance and develops antibodies against them. This process creates immunity from future infections. If an HPV exposure is contracted after having the vaccination, your body is ready to fight off the infection. This vaccine received approval by the FDA in 2007,

Gardasil 9 is strongly recommended in the medical community for girls and women ages 9 through 45 to help in preventing certain diseases related to the HPV virus. For women and girls, it helps prevent:

  • Anal, vaginal, cervical, and vulvar cancer caused by the strains of HPV 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58
  • Genital warts developing due to HPV virus 6 and 11
  • Dysplastic or precancerous lesions caused by HPV 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58
  • Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia
  • Vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia
  • Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia
  • Anal intraepithelial neoplasia

Gardasil 9  should be taken by boys and men ages 9 through 45 to prevent certain diseases related to HPV strains:

  • 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58 responsible for anal cancer
  • 6 and 11 linked to genital warts
  • 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58 linked to anal intraepithelial neoplasia

Side effects from getting the Gardasil vaccine are generally mild and include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Fainting
  • Pain at the injection site, which is often only mild to moderate in pain levels
  • Itching
  • Mild redness at the injection site

Patients receiving the vaccination are generally observed for 15 minutes after getting the injection because of the possibility of fainting. There may be some allergic reactions which are watched for including:

  • Headaches
  • Aching muscles
  • Weakness
  • Swollen glands
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Joint pain
  • Tiredness


  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome

The Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a syndrome, while rare, can attack your body’s nerves. Tingling and weakness in your extremities are the first sign of this disorder. These sensations can quickly spread throughout your body, paralyzing your entire system. Some of the people who suffer from this disorder may require hospitalization.

It is not known what the exact cause of Guillain-Barre Syndrome is, but it is linked to infectious illnesses such as stomach flu and respiratory infection.

The vaccine is injected into your muscle area in three separate doses. The first one is given at your convenience and when you are able to go to the clinic. The second dose has to be given two months after you’ve received the first one. The third dose of the vaccine has to be administered six months following the first one.

Gardasil that is now being offered as a vaccine for HPV is not the same as the one which became available in 2007. The first Gardasil was developed to protect against four strains of HPV and is why it earned the name, 'quadrivalent vaccine.'

In 2014 the new version of Gardasil was approved by the FDA and earned the name Gardasil 9 as it now protects against nine strains of HPV. When you go for your vaccine, the doctor may refer to it simply as Gardasil.

  • Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia

Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia or CIN means you have irregular cells on the outside of your cervix. CIN is normally caused by certain strains of HPV and is detected when you have a cervical biopsy performed. CIN is not cancer; however, it can turn into cancer and spread if not treated. CIN is graded based on how irregular the cells appear under a microscope, and how much they have affected the tissue of your cervix. CIN 1 has the least abnormal cell count and is less likely to develop into cancer than CINs 2 and 3.

Is There a Cure for HPV?

There are no cures for the different strains of HPV. You can receive treatments for the health issues created from the virus such as genital warts, cervical cancer, and cervical changes, but there is no cure to remove the virus from your system.

What You Should You Know About HPV Diseases

Genital Warts- While there are different treatment options for genital warts, the virus which caused them may still be in your system even after warts have gone away. You may still pass this virus on to others during sexual activities. If you develop warts and do not treat them, they can stay the same, go away, increase in number or size; however, they will not become cancerous.

Cervical Cancer- All women are advised to have a Pap smear to check for cell changes that are possible from HPV. The test will detect the changes in your cells early to allow you to be treated before they become cancer. The Pap smear can also find early stages of cancer so it can be treated before it becomes life-threatening. There are high success rates in curing cervical cancers when they are detected early.

Vulvar or Vaginal Cancers-Vulvar or Vaginal Cancers-Vulvar cancer is in the woman’s clitoris, the opening of the vagina, and on the lips of the vagina. Vaginal cancer develops in the birth canal. Not all forms of these cancers are caused by HPV; other factors can be responsible for these forms.

Anal Cancer- is where anal cancer forms in the tissues inside an anus. The opening of the rectum is considered the anus and the last part of the large intestine, which leads to the outside of the body.

Find Answers About HPV Near Me

The All Women’s Care can answer any questions you have regarding HPV. Call our office at 213-250-9461, we are ready to provide all the information you need to make decisions regarding the vaccine. Schedule an appointment for screening at a time that is convenient for you and discuss your medical needs with our experienced and qualified healthcare professionals.