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Hi, It's Dr. C. Board-certified Ob-gyne with 30+ years of experience and a special interest in HPV & cervical disease. I can help you today.
I'm sorry that you had a + HPV test. Most women have temporary infections with HPV several times during their lives. With a new relationship, there is about a 50% chance of catching a new HPV infection. In the vast majority of cases, the infection clears by itself without treatment within 3 years, most often much more quickly, within 1 year.
A colposcopy is done to be sure of how much of the cervix is infected and whether it's safe to monitor. Usually with a first lifetime abnormal pap, the recommendation after colpo will be repeat pap smear in 1 year. Smokers are at higher risk of not clearing the HPV, so if a woman smokes, I always strongly advise her to quit.
I hope this has been reassuring so far. Usually a woman with a new +hpv will have more questions, so please reply if I can clarify anything or add more details. I want to be sure you have the most helpful information.
I don't see the big rush to interrupt your vacation plans. That delay won't make any difference no matter what. Colposcopy is also likely to be more difficult when a woman is on her period. Light bleeding is fine but heavy may interfere. It would also help if you knew what the pap reading was. If HGSIL, it's a bit more concerning than LGSIL. Yes it's safe to continue to have sex. Once a couple has been together for 3 months, it's likely both partners are infected and will pass the virus back and forth for a while before both then clearing it permanently.
Anything else I can clarify?
High grade squamous intraepithelial lesion as opposed to Low grade. Usually in your age group, if it's a first lifetime abnormal it will be low grade. Almost all lowgrades reverse without treatment. High grade disease can sometimes mean the HPV has been sitting for longer without clearing. But even high grade disease clears without treatment in non-smokers who are under 30. But it requires closer monitoring with recheck in 6 months rather than 1 year. Because you're under 30, it's possible that your reading was ASCUS. Usually we don't do a seperate HPV test in women under 30 unless they have ASCUS reading on their pap. ASCUS stands for "atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance". That just means that the skin cells on the cervix don't look normal but the pathologist can't tell why. That reading is possible with various other things like yeast infections, etc. So when there is an ASCUS reading, they automatically run an HPV test to see if it could be from HPV. Normally we don't run HPV test along with the pap until a woman is 30 and above.
I hope that wasn't confusing. Let me know if I can still clarify anything more.
You're welcome. Glad to help. Feel free to check back in with me once you've had the colposcopy and biopsy report.
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