Woman's Health Centers

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Preventing HPV

How Can I Prevent Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?

If you are sexually active, HPV can be difficult to prevent because it is often difficult to identify, and is quite prevalent. HPV is contracted through body-to-body contact. Therefore, because a condom does not adequately cover the entire genital region, it is not an effective barrier to HPV. Use of the condom or diaphragm may protect the cervix, because it is completely covered with these barrier methods. Obviously, condom use remains extremely important as a tool for the prevention of other sexually transmitted infections. The female condom, which covers the entire vulva, may be more protective.

Is there A Cure For HPV?

No. It may be possible for your bodies own immune system to destroy the virus. However, most often HPV is a virus that stays in your body once you have contracted it. Treatment can destroy the virus, and for most women, the immune system will help keep the HPV under control. Over time, the chance of recurring abnormalities from the HPV lessens.

Is There Anything Else that I Can Do To Protect Myself?

Yes. The best protection is to keep your immune system as healthy as possible. In addition to not smoking, this means eating well and protecting yourself against other sexually transmitted infections by limiting your number of sexual partners and by using condoms. Women who smoke have a higher rate of cervical cancer; smoking may inhibit the immune system, preventing or slowing repair of abnormal tissue.