What steps can women take to reduce the risk of these conditions?

The best way to prevent HPV is to get the HPV vaccine, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). If girls get the vaccine before becoming sexually active, they reduce their chances of getting cervical cancer.

The vaccine is recommended for girls and women ages 11 through 26, and boys and men ages 11 through 21. It is given in three doses over a six month period, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC).

For people who are sexually active, using condoms from start to finish of every sex act can help lower the risk of HPV, but they do not fully protect against it, according to the CDC.

Because HPV is the most common cause of cervical dysplasia, getting the HPV vaccine also will help prevent cervical dysplasia. The risk of cervical dysplasia also can be decreased, according to the NIH, by:

  • Not having a baby before age 16
  • Not having multiple sexual partners
  • Not having sex before age 18
  • Not smoking

For more information about HPV and cervical dysplasia, and how to prevent them, talk with your doctor.

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