You’ve taken the tests, gotten the results: the HPV result is positive. Maybe you’ve already gone and spoken to your doctor, maybe you are trying to come to grips with it and you’re not sure what to do next. We understand, it can be a difficult process to understand right from the start. That’s why we here at SelfCollect have put together this blog, to answer those crying out ‘I have HPV, now what do I do?!’
I Have HPV, Now What?
First, take a breath. And another. One more? Okay. Good. Here’s the truth: chances are, you are going to be fine. That may come as a surprise, after all doctors and pharmaceutical companies have done a damn good job of highlighting the link between HPV and several forms of cancer, and for good reason! But, in their hub-bub to get the word out, maybe a few things got lost in translation. Things like 80% of the population in the U.S. will have a HPV infection in their lifetime.
Or that the overwhelming majority of HPV infections will not develop into cervical or other forms of cancer! In fact, 90% of the time these infections will be undetectable within a year or two without any intervention.
Surprising right? If the majority of all HPV infections are nothing to worry about, why bother testing or worrying about it at all? Well it’s because testing for HPV does help diagnosis those cancers earlier and helps where other tests might fail.
If you are diagnosed with one of the High-Risk strains of HPV that has been linked to cancer, then there are a few steps you can take to put your best foot forward.
Your Health, Your Control
Taking care of yourself is critical to keeping HPV at bay and giving your body the best shot at fighting it.
1) Make Healthy Choices
Remember so much of your health is built from what you put into your body. Foods, liquids, and anything else you take become the building blocks of, or ticking time bombs in, your body. So make the best choices! Eat a nutritious diet. Make sure to eat plenty of collard greens, squash, and tomatoes as they are rich in beta-carotene which may help prevent some cancers – including cervical. Foods high in folic acid also have that potential.
2) Quit Smoking!
We have known for a long time that smoking increases the risk of developing many different cancers, including HPV-related cancers. It also weakens your immune system making you more susceptible to infections and illnesses of all types. If you are serious about taking control of your health, you need to quit somking – today!
3) Regular Screenings
Make sure you are seeing your doctor and getting HPV and/or Pap tests done as often as your healthcare provider recommends. Should any tests come up abnormal, you and your provider can begin treatments immediately.
4) And of course…Practice Safe Sex!
HPV is a sexually transmitted infection. If you already have an HPV infection, it is imperative that you practice safe sex to reduce the risk of transmission to your partner. While your strain may not be a high-risk type, it is still an infection.
Most of these suggestions are highly beneficial even if you don’t have an HPV infection. Being healthy now only helps your chances of fighting off later infections.
Not yet tested? Pick up an HPV High-Risk Virus Test or any of the STD Panel Tests! Those marked with an asterisk (*), like the Female STD Panel Test*, include an optional add-on to detect all Low and High Risk HPV genotypes. Getting tested and knowing your current state of health is absolutely critical to maintaining it.