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The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common virus. There are many types of HPV. Some types cause the common skin wart. Other types cause genital warts, which can be spread by sexual contact. Some types can increase the risk for cervical and anal cancer. Having one type of HPV doesn't lead to having another type.
Many women who have HPV may not know that they're infected until it's found with a Pap test. If you've had an abnormal Pap test, your doctor may recommend that you have an HPV test.
If the HPV test finds that you have the types of HPV that might lead to cancer, your doctor may suggest more tests. This doesn't mean you'll get cancer. but it means that you may have an increased risk. Abnormal cell changes caused by HPV often go away on their own. If they don't, they can be treated.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: February 26, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kevin C. Kiley MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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