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What should I do if I test positive for high-risk human papillomavirus?

If you test positive for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV), don’t panic. Understand that most HPV infections will resolve without any specific treatment. In the event of persistent infection, the natural course of the infection will likely allow for appropriate intervention and treatment before a cervical cancer develops. It is important to understand, also, that a positive high-risk HPV screen does not give any information as to the timing of infection. Many women want to know when the initial infection occurred which is impossible to tell from the high-risk HPV test. Follow through with further testing as recommended by your gynecologist. Even with persistent infections, the progression from precancerous changes on the cervix to actual cervical cancer can take anywhere from 8 to 10 years. Therefore, with routine follow up, many cases of cervical cancer can be detected in the precancerous early stages, allowing ample time for intervention, treatment and cure.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.