STI Spotlight – HPV
Jan 2012 17

STI Spotlight – HPVComments Off on STI Spotlight – HPV

Posted In blog,Brittnee

Each month (starting this month) I thought it would be nice to highlight a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) and give a little more than just the basic definition that is found in the sex dictionary. Along with identifying the transmission, we will also identify symptoms, treatment, prevention, screening, and any other information that may be relevant in the discussion (possibly any media coverage, or public service announcements (PSAs) recently aired). So….without further ado…this month’s STI is… (space for dramatic effect)


HPV (Part I)


Genital Human Papillomavirus is known as HPV, the virus that is responsible for genital warts and some forms of cancer. There are more than 40 types of HPV that can infect not only the genitals of both males and females but also the throat and month, making HPV the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. It is also important to note that people can be infected with more than on strain of HPV at a time.

HPV can be passed through both intercourse and oral sex (so any combination works… genital -mouth contact, penile-vaginal penetration, penile-anal penetration) and majority of people infected do not realize they are carrying the virus. Basically, HPV is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.

While most individuals will not develop any symptoms or health problems from HPV, there are potential health risks such as genital warts and cervical cancer (or other HPV-related cancers).

Genital warts can appear as a small bump or a group or cluster of small bumps on the genital area and can possibly resemble cauliflower (be it the penis or the vulva). The bumps can appear to be flat or raised, and can differ in size and shape. Normally these bumps are painless and have a flesh-like color. Most outbreaks appear within weeks or months of contact with an infected person, and can be diagnosed by a Healthcare provider during a visit. Without treatment it is possible that genital warts can go away, remain unchanged, or increase in number and size. It is important to note that genital warts do NOT cause cancer.

Cervical Cancer is another risk associated with HPV. Most people do not have symptoms until the cancer becomes advance and is harder to treat. It is recommended that women get a pap smear once a year to screen for possibilities of cervical cancer that is associated with HPV.

The pap smear (cervical screening) are checking for cervical dysplasia (or changes in the cells on your cervix). The changes are categorized as: Low- Grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL), High-Grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL), and Possibly cancerous (malignant).

There are various treatments for genital warts, from a cream that is applied directly to infected site to freezing off the warts. For cancer, most health care providers monitor the changes in cells over a period of time (you may have appointments every 3-6 months) to insure that the changes in the cervical cells do not progress into cancer. In about 90% of individuals that do have HPV, the body’s immune system will clear up the virus in approximately two years, however there is always a possibility of recurrence.

With all that said…there is prevention against HPV. Gardasil (Cervix is the generic brand…does the same thing) is a vaccine that is given in a sequence of three shots that protects against four strains of HPV. These four strains are those that are most commonly associated with genital warts and cervical cancer.

Stay tune for media coverage…HPV (Part II)


Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – [Center for Disease Control and Prevention – CDC]

Cervical Dysplasia – [National Institute of Health – NIH]

Screening Guidelines for Sexually Transmitted Disease – []




Jan 2012 20

STI Spotlight – HPV Part IIComments Off on STI Spotlight – HPV Part II

Posted In blog,Brittnee

Late last year there was a ton of media attention in regards to the HPV vaccine Gardasil. The main debate was whether or not the vaccine that is recommended for young girls should be recommended for young boys. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (fancy title for the people that decide what vaccinations are mandatory) suggested that males ages 13 to 21 receive the three shot serious that protect against the four common strains of HPV because the vaccine is more effective if given prior to the onset of sexually activity.

Some parents are arguing that vaccinating boys (or girls for that matter) at such a young age will permit them to be sexually active earlier, because Gardasil is protecting them for a sexually transmitted infection. However, public health professionals and Dr. William Schaffer from the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine see the vaccination as a possible vaccine against cancer – or at least protecting people from getting the virus that is associated with particular types of cancer.

All in all finding out you have any STI is really no walk in the park (nor is it the end of the world). So vaccination (and continual condom use) is a viable option to take into consideration when thinking about protecting yourself. If this post got you thinking and you want to go get tested (sexually active individuals should be tested at least once a year) there are five clinics in Genesee County where testing is available.

Genesee County Health Department
Floyd J. McCree Courts and Human Services Center
630 S. Saginaw St.
Flint, Michigan 48502-1540

G3373 S. Saginaw St.
Burton, Michigan 48529

Wellness AIDS Services, Inc.
630 S. Saginaw St.
Flint, Michigan 48502-1540
(810) 257-3139

Planned Parenthood: Flint Health Center
G-3371 Beecher Road
Flint, MI 48532

Hamilton Community Health Network
4001 N. Saginaw Street
Flint, MI 48505
(810) 789-9141

YOUR Center (HIV testing)
Phone: (810) 789-8637
Fax: (810) 789-8638

These clinics can also be found on the website under resources.


Panel Endorses HPV Vaccine for Boys of 11 – [NY Times]

To get on the Pill or Not to get on the Pill…that is the question…
Jan 2012 24

To get on the Pill or Not to get on the Pill…that is the question…Comments Off on To get on the Pill or Not to get on the Pill…that is the question…

Posted In blog,Brittnee

Back in the day when I went in to the doctors for my annual appointment (note: I still go – this may have been my first or second time), my healthcare provider put me on the pill…I never really questioned her or even considered the other options that were available until I realized I really wasn’t to good at taking this birth control (BC) pill everyday at the same time. Frankly, my life was just a tad bit crazy at that point (school, work, social life, whatever life decided to throw at me)…and trying to remember to pop a pill everyday at exactly the same time just wasn’t working for me.

What I didn’t know and soon learned was that there are many different methods of birth control (some that our grandmas used…and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend) that fit our personal preferences – so I did what anyone would do, I got off the pill and got on BC that I had to worry less about – my choice was the Depo-Provera (aka “the shot”). Whether you’d rather worry about your BC every day, every three months, or once every five years, there is a method of contraception that fits the needs of most women.

After my close friend was f-ed up with her doctors’ selection of birth control, she called me and I give her a quick spiel of all the other types of birth control that her doctor failed to mention to her during her visit. After my spiel was over, there was complete silence on the other end of the phone; I realized all that information was a tab bit overwhelming…so I directed her to this website called The Bedsider.

This site is like BC gold. What it does is gives descriptions of each type of birth control (from your grandma’s cervical cap to the newest intrauterine contraceptive (IUC)). Not only does it give descriptions, how-tos, and accurate effectiveness rates, the website also gives personal testimonials and allows for you to place the different methods of contraception side-by-side to see the pros and cons of each.

Go ahead and play with it a little — You know you want to!

Similar sites: Association for Reproductive Health Professionals and Brook

Lesson for Today: Be your biggest advocate for your sexual health…research your BC options and pick the one that is best for you!

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