I'm 21 years old and I have been getting a yearly PAP smear exam since I was 18. I have never taken birth control pills and have had oral sex since 18, but (vaginal) sex for the first time (with a condom) a couple months back. My OBGYN had just recently told me last week that I had an abnormal pap smear. She had also mentioned that even though I tested negative for HPV, an abnormal PAP smear usually leads to HPV and to come in for a colposcopy for further testing. She also said that this was very common and I shouldn't worry. I find this very hard to believe since I had taken all three shots of Gardasil around the age of 12, where I've read that it becomes stronger as you grow older when taken at a young age.
I won't be seeing her until next week but I am very concerned. I was wondering if anyone could help me better understand the situation and what to expect? Thanks.
The definitive length of protection from Gardisil is still ambigious and unknown. Most research points to five years worth of protection atleast, so the effects may have worn off on you leaving you unprotected right now.
Also it doesn't protect against every strain of HPV, just the four most common (two of which may have been detected in the PAP, the other two wouldn't as they cause genital warts). So you may have contracted a less common strain in which the vaccine doesn't cover.
Don't panic too much if it does turn out to be HPV. As your Doctor stated it is very common and most women encounter the virus at least once in their lives. It has a stigma attached as it is an STD, so people don't talk about it and as it is so unknown it is thought to be very serious and dangerous. As long as you follow your doctors advise you should be fine and free from the virus (be it waiting 6 months to see if your bodies immune system heals the virus itself, or treatment if you have a more seriouse case)
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