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Cervical Cancer Screening with the HPV Test and the Pap Test in Women Ages 30 and Older

Common Questions About HPV

Is There a Treatment for HPV or Abnormal Cells?

There is no treatment for HPV (a virus). But there are treatments for abnormal cervical cells, which can be destroyed or removed. Treating abnormal cells will stop them from growing into cancer. No treatment is perfect. That’s why it’s important to go back to your doctor as told, to make sure abnormal cells do not grow back. You may need to get screening tests more often for a while. But most people do eventually fight off the virus.

Does Having HPV or Abnormal Cervical Cells Affect My Chances of Getting Pregnant or Having Healthy Babies?

Having HPV or cell changes on your cervix does not make it harder to get or stay pregnant. The type of HPV that is linked to cancer should not affect the health of your future babies. But if you need treatment for your cell changes, the treatment could affect your chances of carrying a baby to term, in rare cases. If you need treatment, ask your doctor if the treatment can affect your ability to carry your baby to term.

Will I Pass HPV to My Current Partner?

If you have been with your partner for a while, your partner likely has HPV too. But your partner likely has no signs or symptoms of HPV. There is no way to know if your partner gave you HPV, or if you gave HPV to your partner.

Can I Prevent Passing HPV to a New Partner?

Condoms may lower your chances of passing HPV to your new partner, if used all the time and the right way. But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom—so condoms may not fully protect against HPV. The only sure way to prevent passing HPV to a new partner is to not have sex.

I Heard About a New HPV Vaccine. Can It Help Me?

The HPV vaccine protects against the HPV types that most often cause cervical cancer and is given in a series of 3 shots. The vaccine is recommended for girls 11 and 12 years of age. The vaccine also can be given to females ages 13–26 who did not get any or all of the shots yet. (Note: the vaccine can be given to girls 9 or 10 years of age.) The HPV vaccine is also recommended for boys and young men. To learn more, visit CDC’s HPV Vaccines Web site.

If I’ve Had a Hysterectomy, Do I Still Need to Get Screened for Cervical Cancer?

This depends on why you got your hysterectomy, and if you still have your cervix. If you got a total hysterectomy for reasons other than cancer, you may not need cervical cancer screening. Talk to your doctor to find out if you still need to get screened.

 
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