I’m a 15 year old guy and my doctor gave me a brochure about HPV vaccines and said she thinks it’s a good idea. My questions are: 1) Is the vaccine safe? and 2) Why do guys need a vaccine to protect them against a disease (cervical cancer) that affects females?

I applaud you for being proactive and asking questions! I also am happy your family physician initiated the important conversation about HPV vaccines. First things first: HPV vaccines are indeed safe, having been tested with thousands of boys, girls, young men and women around the world. The vaccines have been found to be well tolerated, […]

I’ve had genital warts for about a year, and have made several trips to a clinic for treatment with cryotherapy [freezing warts with liquid nitrogen spray]. I’ve lost my health insurance, though, and can’t afford to have new warts treated. The treatment was little more than the nurse zapping the warts with the spray. Could I buy one of these units and just do it myself?

I hear you about the difficulty of getting treatment when you don’t have insurance. That has to be beyond frustrating. Please don’t try and freeze the genital warts yourself, as it can be hard to control how much tissue is destroyed, both surface area and depth. Genital skin is much different from that found in […]

Can you get HPV from a swimming pool or hot tub?

Great question, and you’re not alone in being confused about just how HPV is transmitted. HPV is spread by skin to skin contact: with genital virus, this can involve vaginal, anal, or possibly oral sex with someone who has this infection. The virus may also be transmitted by fingers from one person’s genitals to another. […]

About a year ago, my girlfriend was diagnosed with high-risk HPV. She had a procedure done to remove abnormal cells from her cervix, and everything has been normal on her follow-up visits, but our lives changed completely. I am always conscious of it, and if I get sick I panic and think it’s related to the HPV. My doctor told me if I do have HPV, not to worry about it and continue to live my life the same…I wish I could! What tests should we be doing now?

I appreciate your concern about your partner’s health and it sounds as if she has done the right thing by getting screened and then treated for the abnormal cells. The goal of Pap tests and in some cases, HPV testing, is to identify women at risk for developing cervical cancer. Now that she has been […]

I had my Pap test a month ago and just received a letter saying my Pap test is unclear, I MAY have changes in my cervix cells, and I need to get checked again. I’m scared because the night before I got the letter, my boyfriend and I had sex. Now I’m freaking out that I’ve given him HPV.

Women can have unclear Pap tests for many different reasons. Sometimes HPV-related cell changes are the cause, but other causes such as yeast infections can also result in an abnormal Pap test. To help sort it out, it’s not uncommon to repeat the Pap test in a few months or, sometimes with women over age […]

At my last doctor’s visit, the nurse recommended the HPV vaccine (I’m 14). My mom doesn’t want me to get it becuase HPV is an STD and she thinks I’m too young, and that the vaccines “encourages” girls to have sex and not protect themselves. Is this right? And why do they recommend this so young?

First, some background. HPV vaccines are recommended for use with all adolescents and young adults between the ages of 11 and 26. (HPV vaccines can actually be given as young as age nine). Why so young? The idea is to vaccinate and offer protection prior to the onset of sexual activity. Also, the vaccines generate […]