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Frequently Asked Questions About HPV And Sexual Health

By December 23, 2009 - 8:08am

Article provided by QIAGEN

Can HPV affect your reproductive health? This is a common question that is brought up by women who may or may not carry the virus, or feel they are at risk. QIAGEN, makers of the digene HPV test, explains how the HPV virus can affect a women’s reproductive health, including whether or not HPV interferes with a women’s ability to conceive and what to know if cervical dysplasia develops.

Q. Do you need to be tested for HPV during pregnancy?
A. A Pregnancy does not require a change in the usual schedule for HPV and Pap testing recommended by your doctor or nurse. If you are due for your next Pap and (if you’re 30 or over) HPV test after becoming pregnant, you should go ahead and be tested. Otherwise, it’s not needed.

Q. Can HPV be passed to a child while in the womb?
A. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it's possible for the HPV virus to be passed from mother to child during birth, but it is "rare." In fact, the agency estimates this occurs in no more than 1.1 cases per 100,000 children. In these extremely infrequent cases, the HPV infection is found in the infant's respiratory tract, which can lead to wart-like growths – most commonly, on the larynx. Early diagnosis and care are key.

Q. Does HPV interfere with your ability to conceive?
A. Having HPV does not interfere with a woman's ability to become pregnant.

Q. Will genital warts affect pregnancy or childbirth?
A. Most pregnant women with genital warts, or a history of them, are unlikely to have any HPV-related complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Although genital warts may grow in number during pregnancy due to changes in the body's immune system, treatment may be delayed until after birth to see if they go away on their own.

Most children born to women with a history of genital warts do not experience any HPV-related complications. Only very rarely is the virus passed to the child, causing warty growths to develop in the infant's throat as a result.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.