Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Sexual Conditions Health Center

Font Size

Gay Women Not Immune From Sexually Transmitted Disease

continued...

"We have women who have been married for 10 years and they discover they have HPV," Lococo says. "They want to point their finger at their husband for cheating, but one of the partners may have caught it through sexual activity in their teens." HPV could have taken that long to manifest itself.

If HPV is caught early, sometimes it can be thwarted by destroying the warts using drugs, freezing them with liquid nitrogen, or with laser treatment. But this is not a cure, nor does it prevent repeated contamination by the virus.

"If a person is being [reinfected] with the virus by a partner, there is no point in eradicating the warts," says Norman Gant, MD, executive director of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. "It's a difficult disease to catch without screening. Even if warts do appear on the cervix, they are difficult to see. If they are on the skin or the vulva, then they will show. But this is both the good news and the bad news: You know you have the virus."

Gant, also a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, warns that if someone has one sexually transmitted disease, then they probably have more than one. So having HPV could put you at higher risk for contracting HIV.

These facts emphasize the importance of regular physical checkups and honest communication between patients and their doctors. Marrazzo says that women who have sex with women are putting themselves at a much higher risk of HPV progressing to cancer because they don't get regular Pap smears.

In Marrazzo's research with lesbians, she found that more than one-third of them hadn't had a Pap smear in more than two years.

"I was surprised because this was a highly educated group, and most of the women knew how often they should get a Pap," Marrazzo says. "Many of them said that their medical provider told them they didn't need to get one."

 

1|2

Today on WebMD

Sex Drive Killers 03
Slideshow
couple holding hands
Quiz
 
Couple in bed
Article
Condom Quiz
Quiz
 

HIV Myth Facts
Slideshow
STD Overview
Slideshow
 
Man tearing a condom packet
Quiz
things your guy wish you knew slideshow
Slideshow
 

Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Quiz
Girls Puberty 10
Quiz
 
Couple in bed
Article
Young couple holding hands
Quiz
 

WebMD Special Sections