One way of knowing a person has an HPV infection is by the appearance of genital warts. These may or may not show up right after being infected with the virus but you can get checked. A doctor would give a visual inspection and should be able to tell you. HPV types associated with warts are not necessarily the types that are associated with cancer.

When it comes to diagnosing an HPV infection in men, there is no specific test for those cancer-causing strains of HPV at this time. However, there are for women so it’s a little more involved.

Women should have annual pap tests done. Those infected with a type of HPV that can cause cancer would first be told that their pap test results are abnormal. In regards to women, pap tests are the primary way a doctor finds out about cervical cancer or precancerous changes in the cervix for women.

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Another way a doctor could detect the HPV infection on a women is by performing a DNA test. This can be done after the doctor sees an abnormal Pap smear and wants to get confirmation that the changes are for sure related to HPV. The DNA test will also tell the doctor whether the type of HPV can cause cancer, as only certain strains of HPV do. HPV types 16 and 18 account for nearly 70% of all cervical cancers.

When administering an HPV test, the doctor will take a swab of cells from the cervix, like the Pap test, and then have the cells analyzed in a lab. This test can identify 13 and 14 of the high-risk HPV types that are associated with cancer. This test is rarely given to females under the age of 30 because younger women are more exposed to HPV that their bodies will typically clear the infection without treatment. Some medical experts also believe that the cervix in younger women is more susceptible to HPV, and as they get older it becomes less susceptible. Ladies, if you’re going to be sexually active, just make sure to have regular Pap smears done and always use protection. Be safe or don’t do it at all. There’s always abstinence which is THE best HPV prevention methods out!