HPV Specialist

Allyson Gonzalez, MD

Gynecologist located in Santa Monica, CA

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. At her practice in Santa Monica, California, Allyson A. Gonzalez, MD, a board-certified gynecologist, offers preventive testing and expert care for HPV. Left untreated, HPV can lead to serious health complications, including certain types of cancer. Protect yourself by scheduling an appointment by phone, or by requesting the next available appointment online.

HPV Q & A

What is HPV?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that’s most often spread through oral, vaginal, or sexual intercourse. There are many different types of HPV that can cause infections throughout your body. Some forms of this virus appear as genital warts. Other types of HPV don’t cause warts or any visible symptoms.

Both men and women can get HPV, and it’s possible infect your partner without even knowing it. While most HPV infections aren’t serious and won’t become cancer, some types of HPV do lead to cancer of the:

  • Vagina
  • Cervix
  • Vulva
  • Anus
  • Throat
  • Penis

Regularly scheduled Pap smears can detect the presence of HPV early enough to treat it before it leads to serious health complications.

What are the risk factors for HPV?

Risk factors that increase your exposure to HPV and the likelihood that you may contract the virus include:

  • Having sex with someone who’s had many sexual partners
  • Having sex with multiple partners
  • A weakened immune system
  • Areas of damaged skin
  • Personal contact with warts or surfaces exposed to HPV

For most people, HPV clears up on its own, but for others, it may not resolve itself without treatment and can lead to certain types of cancer and other conditions.

How does a gynecologist test for HPV?

Dr. Gonzalez tests you for the presence of the human papillomavirus by performing a Pap smear. During a pelvic exam, she collects a small sample of cells from your cervix so they can be examined under a microscope for any abnormalities. Although there’s no definitive test for HPV, changes in cells within your cervix or the appearance of genital warts are a good indication that the virus is present.

Genital warts typically appear as flat, small bumps on your vulva. They can also occur on your cervix, vagina, or near your anus. Different strains of HPV can cause plantar warts on your feet, flat warts on your legs or face, or common warts on your hands.

You can reduce the risk of contracting HPV by getting the HPV vaccine, practicing safe sex, and being in a monogamous relationship. Learn more about the prevention and treatment of HPV by scheduling a gynecological exam, including a Pap smear.

Call the office or request an appointment using the online scheduler.