Some college students may not be very familiar with these two
words, but they may need to be since 70 percent of students on
campus have it, according to university officials.
Some students may not even be aware that they are carrying the
virus because it can take months or years for its symptoms to
become visible. The virus can be identified by genital warts or can
be picked-up on a Pap smear.
“Probably about 70 percent of the college population is positive
for HPV,” said Sharon Kennedy, a nurse practitioner at Hartshorn
HPV can be spread through genital, anal or oral sex, although
condoms can help reduce but not eliminate the risk of contracting
the infection, according to the Planned Parenthood Federation of
America, Inc. Web site.
Susan Wolfelt, department head of the Women’s Clinic at the
health center, said there are several treatment options for
“There are some topical things put on, there are some acid
treatments, sometimes we freeze (the warts),” Wolfelt said.
HPV can also be revealed on a Pap smear and can require further
“If HPV shows up on a Pap smear and it’s also associated with
other cellular changes, most people recommend having some further
tests done,” Wolfelt said.
However, further action may not be required for cervical
lesions, which are abnormalities on the cervix.
“Over 70 percent of patients will clear cervical lesions on
their own,” Wolfelt said.
The treatments vary in discomfort, cost and the amount of time
required to treat. This is dependent on the number of lesions and
“Have really open conversation with your partner before you have
sex,” Kennedy said.
She said this is a way of being cautious to prevent contracting
“I think it’d be cool to raise awareness about it,” said
sophomore Natalie Townsend, a mechanical engineer major. “It’s
quite unfortunate that 70 percent of our campus has it.”
The visit to the health center is free because it is covered by
student fees. Treatment costs will vary.
“Sometimes people have it and may not even be aware of it,”
Kennedy said. “Call the health center and tell them you need to
make an appointment for an STD check. It’s usually just a physical