8 measures to lower your risk of HPV infection

While HPV DNA and Pap smears are very important in diagnosis, the colposcopy method used on people who are positive can also detect lesions that may cause cancer. Although only treatment can be applied to the lesions of the disease, the risk of transmission of this disease can be reduced by the precautions to be taken. associate Dr. Murat Öz provided information on HPV infection and precautions to be taken.

Transmission usually occurs through skin contact.

Skin contact is the most common mode of transmission of HPV. HPV, which is able to survive against disinfectants, can also be passed on to someone else through the common use of objects and clothing that come into contact with the genitals. Another condition that causes infection is the transmission of an active genital HPV infection from the mother during pregnancy to the baby during a normal delivery.

Usually asymptomatic

Genital warts are the most common finding of HPV infection, which is usually asymptomatic. In addition, cellular changes and lesions that develop in the epithelium covering the cervix also create asymptomatic conditions. These conditions are only diagnosed through pathological examination in screening tests or biopsy. That is why it is very important to carry out regular gynecological check-ups without interruption, even if there are no complaints.

HPV DNA and Pap smear should be performed every 5 years

The presence of an infection can be detected by HPV tests used in cervical cancer screening. The main purpose of using the HPV test is to determine the presence of high-risk HPV types associated with cervical cancer in the individual. According to the current population screening for cervical cancer, every woman from the age of 30 is recommended to have an HPV DNA test done every 5 years and a Pap smear every year. In case of an abnormality in one of the tests performed, the doctor-specialist proposes an adapted treatment plan to the patient.

Colposcopy helps identify lesions that may cause cancer

Colposcopy, a diagnostic method, is applied to individuals at high risk of cervical cancer during the examinations, to detect lesions that may cause cervical cancer after the HPV test is positive and to conduct their early treatment. Colposcopy, basically a microscope-like device that can magnify the cervix 8-20 times, allows for a more detailed examination of the cervical tissue. In addition, it provides guidance for the physician to clearly observe the changes caused by special solutions such as acetic acid and lugol in the cervical tissue and to take biopsies at the relevant sites. Depending on the results of the colposcopy procedure and the biopsy taken, the next step is determined.

The treatment is applied to lesions caused by infection.

There is no treatment for HPV infection itself. Treatment is usually applied to lesions caused by HPV infection. In this context, treatment methods of chemical cautery or electrocautery can be used in genital warts.

Treatment of CIN lesions (cellular changes and lesions that develop in the epithelium covering the cervix) requires surgical methods. Depending on the location and severity of the lesion, the affected area of ​​the cervix is ​​removed using one of the LEEP or cold conization methods.

These measures can reduce the risk of HPV infection.

While protection against HPV infection cannot be fully guaranteed, this risk can be minimized by taking precautions. Measures to be taken to reduce the chance of HPV infection can be listed as follows:

• The age of first sexual intercourse is not early: HPV infection is most common between 20 and 29 years of age, during adolescence and youth. Sexual life, which begins at a young age, is one of the factors that increase the risk of infection.
• Monogamy: Having multiple sexual partners and increasing this number increases the risk of transmission.
• Sexual partner who does not have multiple partners: Having multiple partners, even if your partner doesn’t, increases the risk.
• Making the HPV vaccine: The antibodies formed as a result of the HPV vaccine provide complete and permanent protection against the HPV types contained in the vaccine.
• Strengthening the immune system: The existence of smoking, alcohol and substance abuse or the use of diseases or drugs that affect the immune system increases the risk of HPV.
• Using barrier methods such as condoms: Using condoms during sexual intercourse reduces the risk of HPV. However, because condoms do not completely cover the genital area, they do not provide complete protection.
• Regular Pap smear and HPV testing: While it is not possible to completely prevent HPV infection, it is possible to prevent cervical cancer with CIN/SIL lesions caused by HPV infection. This requires regular Pap smears and HPV tests.
• Do not share personal items: Sharing personal items such as clothing or aids for sexual play increases transmission.

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