Archive for HPV

Is Genital Warts considered Hepatitis B?

Thanks for asking! Lets clear some things up.

Genital Warts and Hepatitis B are actually two different types of Sexually Transmitted Infections. 

Genital Warts is caused by an STI called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).  HPV is a viral STI that is transmitted through skin to skin contact. HPV can cause Genital Warts (low risk strains) or can lead to cancer (high risk strains) in the genital, anal, or throat area. There is a vaccine for HPV that protects against  strains that cause most genital warts and cervical cancers, as well as other cancers.

Hepatitis B is a different viral STI. The Hepatitis B Virus affects liver health.  There are different types of Hepatitis. There are Hepatitis A, B, and C.  Hepatitis B is the only one that is considered an STI. Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood, semen, and vaginal fluids. Hepatitis B is not curable but it is treatable.  Treatment for Hepatitis B varies on case and severity.  However,  Hepatitis B has a vaccine to prevent the virus – most people in the USA receive the vaccine as infants.

Hopefully that clears up some information for you! Remember, using condoms and dental dams during sexual contact can help people reduce their risk of transmission.

If you would like to make an appointment with us, give us a call at 303-442-5160

 

I had unprotected sex with a boy, but the next day two of my friends said I should get myself checked out. What happens when you go to check for STDs?

…What do the doctors do?

This is a really great and important question!

When testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, someone has to wait at least 2 weeks before getting tested. If someone did contract Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, it will only show an accurate result 14 days after exposure. To test for these STIs, someone will usually urinate in a cup. The lab will be able to test the urine for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea and you will get results within 1-2 weeks.

When testing for Syphilis or HIV, the usual time period that you have to wait is 3 months. After 3 months, someone will receive an accurate result. To test for these STIs, someone will usually have their blood drawn. The lab will test the blood and you will get results within 1-2 weeks. Boulder Teen Clinic also offers rapid HIV testing the first two Tuesdays of every month with the help of BCAP (Boulder County AIDS Project). During the rapid testing, someone will have their finger pricked and will know within 10 Minutes if they have HIV antibodies.

With other STIs like HPV, Trichomoniasis, Herpes, or Pubic Lice, you cannot test for the infection until you experience symptoms. Once you have symptoms, there are various tests that can be performed to confirm the presence of the infection. These tests could include but are not limited to visual tests or testing of discharge.

If you, or someone you know, believe you have an STI, abstain from any sexual contact until you can see a medical professional. You can also call Teen Clinic at 303-442-5160 to make an appointment or to talk with one of our medical professionals!

Check out this question for more information on how to prevent STIs!

How soon can I get tested for STIs after unprotected sex? I believe there’s a window, can you please give me more info?

This is a really great and important question!

The time frame for when someone can get tested for STIs (sexually transmitted infections) really depends on which STI we’re talking about.

When testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, someone has to wait at least 2 weeks before getting tested. If someone did contract Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, it will only show an accurate result 14 days after exposure.

When testing for Syphilis or HIV, the usual time period that you have to wait is 3 months. After 3 months, someone will receive an accurate result.

With other STIs like HPV, Trichomoniasis, Herpes, or Pubic Lice, you cannot test for the infection until you experience symptoms. Once you have symptoms, there are tests that can be performed to confirm the presence of the infection.

If you, or someone you now, believe you have an STI, abstain from any sexual contact until you can see a medical professional. You can also call Teen Clinic at 303-442-5160 to make an appointment or to talk with one of our medical professionals!

I got my first shot of the Gardasil vaccine about a month ago. I haven’t had sex before. I’m going to get my 3rd shot in 5 months…

Can I have protected sex before I get my 3rd shot, or is it not worth the risk?

First of all, it’s great that you’re taking charge of your sexual health!

Gardasil is a vaccine to protect you from HPV, the Human Papilloma Virus.  Gardasil is approved for girls and women, and men and boys ages 9-26 years old. It is given in a series of three shots. Gardasil covers types 6,11,16,18 — the strains of HPV which account for about 70% of cervical cancer cases and 90% of genital warts.

Know that there is risk in everything that you do. Abstinence is the only way to 100% prevent STIs and pregnancy. Using condoms and dental dams will help to reduce your risk of contracting an STI.

In the end, we can’t really advise you to wait or not to wait, but we can educate you on the risks and benefits. If you wait to have any type of sexual interaction until after you complete the series, know that you’ll be 70% protected you from the high risk strains of HPV (the ones that can lead to cervical caner), and 90% protected from lower risk strains like genital warts.

Even after you’ve completed the series though, Teen Clinic recommends using condoms and dental dams every time to help prevent STIs (especially because Gardasil is only helping protect you from HPV), and to think about using a birth control method to help prevent unplanned pregnancy.

I just found out that I have HPV. Can HPV be spread if I perform oral sex on a girl or a boy? Also, I need to find out which type of HPV it is but I can’t go to my normal doctor…

… I tried to get an appointment with Teen Clinic to get an exam but I was told I had to be 21. I am 18; is there any way around this?

Great question! HPV, or the Human Papillomavirus, is an infection spread through skin to skin contact. It can cause abnormal cell growth, including genital warts and some cancers. While there are more than 100 different types of HPV, about forty affect the genitals. Some studies suggest that as many as three-quarters of people in the United States have been infected with at least one type of HPV! However, in 90% of cases, HPV clears naturally from the body within two years. This is especially true for young people, whose immune systems are usually very strong.

For this reason, the most up-to-date medical guidelines suggest that people get their first pap test at age 21. A pap test is when a doctor takes a sample of cells from the cervix to make sure they are growing normally.  (When they are growing abnormally, it is often a sign of HPV.) This is different from a pelvic exam, which is when a doctor physically examines the genital area to make sure it is healthy. During a pelvic exam, a doctor may take samples of fluid to test a person for STIs or other infections.  A doctor could also diagnose or treat HPV-caused genital warts during a pelvic exam. At Teen Clinic, you can make an appointment for a pelvic exam. However, you won’t be able to get a pap test because it is not medically necessary at your age.

If a doctor has diagnosed you with HPV, it might be helpful to make an appointment at Teen Clinic to talk to a provider. Teen Clinic is a safe, confidential place where young people can get easy-to-understand information. It’s also helpful to know that HPV spreads through genital to genital contact or genital to mouth contact. While performing oral sex can put you at risk for contracting HPV orally, it is still unknown whether or not HPV can spread from a person’s mouth onto someone else’s genitals.  Know that having genital HPV does not automatically mean that you also have oral HPV.

Teen Clinic recommends using condoms and dental dams 100% to reduce the risk of transmitting HPV to others. This will also reduce your risk for contracting other types of HPV! We also recommend receiving the Gardasil vaccine, which can prevent the four most dangerous types of HPV if you do not already have them. (This is low-cost at Teen Clinic!) And remember—the best way to support your immune system in fighting HPV is to get plenty of sleep, drink water, eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, and manage any stress in your life. Thanks for asking this very important question!

Can you still get an STI even if you haven’t had sex?

In general, sexually transmitted infections are just that—sexually transmitted! If you are not engaging in sexual activity, you are not at risk for STIs.

However, there are a few infections considered STIs that can spread non-sexually.  For instance, pubic lice (also known as Crabs) can be spread through wet towels, loofahs, bedsheets, and wet clothing. Pubic lice can live outside the body for up to 24 hours in locations that are warm, dark, and moist, which makes it easier for them to spread without sexual activity.  Additionally, according to the Center for Disease Control, 4% of all cases of Trichomononiasis are transmitted through hot tubs and wet towels.

Bloodborne STIs—like HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis B & C—can also be spread non-sexually. This most often occurs during IV drug use, medical needle sticks, or blood transfusions that did not receive proper screening.  Again, it’s important to realize these infections would not be considered STIs in this scenario, since they were not spread sexually. (However, if you received them non-sexually, you could still transmit them to others through sexual activity.)

Last, it’s important to be specific about what we mean by “sex.”  If you are engaging in genital to genital contact—even if you are not engaging in penetrative oral, anal, or vaginal sex—you are at risk for some STIs. In particular, HPV, Herpes, Syphilis (when a sore is present), and pubic lice can all spread through skin to skin contact.

If you are experiencing symptoms of an STI but haven’t been sexually active, you may want to read a bit about yeast infections and bacterial vaginitis. These are organic infections—they can occur without being transmitted from anyone—but they can be just as uncomfortable as some STIs. If you are experiencing pain, bleeding, itching, or discharge, make an appointment to see a medical provider soon.

Thanks for asking this (slightly complicated) question!

If I got the Gardasil shot when I was younger, could I still get gonorrhea?

Yep! Gardasil is the vaccine that prevents the most common forms of HPV (the Human Papillomavirus). HPV is a viral STI that spreads through skin to skin contact. It can cause abnormal cell growth, including genital warts and some kinds of cancer.  While it’s awesome that you got this vaccine, know that you’re not protected against all sexually transmitted infections—just the most common strains of HPV!

Gonorrhea is a bacterial STI spread through sexual fluids. There is always a risk of gonorrhea if you choose to be sexually active, but your highest risk is through unprotected vaginal intercourse. Teen Clinic recommends using condoms 100%, and getting tested after any new partners. You can get checked for genital gonorrhea on a walk-in basis at Teen Clinic; all you have to do is leave a urine sample.  It’s important to know that gonorrhea can also be spread from the sexual fluids into the throat; be sure to use condoms during oral sex, and see a medical professional if you are ever experiencing strep-like symptoms.

Learn more about specific sexually transmitted infections here.

New study: IUDs may protect against cervical cancer

Intrauterine devices may reduce the risk of cervical cancer by 45%, states a recent New York Times article.  The new information comes out of a review of studies conducted in Asia, South America, and Europe between 1985 and 2007. Researchers believe that inserting an IUD may create an immune response that helps the body fight off HPV.

Check out the whole article here, or learn more about IUDs here.

Is your clinic only for girls, or can boys go there to get tested for an STI too?

What a great question! Teen Clinic offers free or low-cost, confidential care to everyone under 20, whether male, female, or intersex. If you are under 18, all of your services at Teen Clinic will be free. But if you are 18 or 19, there may be a small flat fee for your services based on your income.

On a walk-in basis, males can get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea, access our free monthly HIV testing, or pick up Plan B for a female partner. Males should make an appointment if they are experiencing the symptoms of an infection or if they want to receive Gardasil (the HPV vaccine). And, of course, males are always welcome to stop by Teen Clinic to grab a handful of condoms!  Teen Clinic can also be a resource for questions about sexuality, how to use a condom, or talking to your parents about sex.

We often think of females when we think of sexual health, but birth control and STI-related services are just as important for males!  Thanks for taking the initiative to take care of your health, and spread the word!

I have bumps on my vagina and it looks like razor burn but my skin is kind of rubbing off around it…

… It doesn’t really hurt but they are making me nervous. Could I have genital warts? Can Teen Clinic help me if I do?

Without an exam, it’s impossible to tell what the bumps are!  Some bumps in the genital area are caused by viral STIs, while others occur after irritation (like razor burn).  Your best bet is to make an appointment at Teen Clinic this week.  When you call, tell the clinic assistant you need an infection check. It’s also a great idea to avoid sexual contact until you come in for your appointment.