Tips for young women

Visiting your doctor is an excellent way to learn more about HPV, cervical cancer, genital warts, and all the ways to protect yourself from them. Take a moment and think about what you want to get out of your doctor's appointment and make a list if you think you may forget. This is the time to ask about anything that you want to know.

Don't forget, anything you say to your doctor is between the two of you; your conversation is confidential and what you share won't go beyond the office walls.

You might want to have your mom or a trusted friend with you when you go see your doctor. That's okay if that's what you're comfortable with, but don't forget that you need to be honest with your doctor. If you're not comfortable talking about this in front of your mom, you might want to ask her to wait outside.

Tips for mothers

A doctor's visit can help your daughter learn more about HPV, cervical cancer, and all the ways to protect herself. Help your daughter prepare for her doctor's visit by encouraging her to make a list of questions she'd like to ask the doctor.

Your daughter may want to have you present at her doctor's visit for support, or she may be more comfortable speaking to her doctor alone. Try not to feel insulted if your daughter prefers to see the doctor by herself.

Questions the doctor may ask

The doctor will ask some questions to get an idea of which health issues may need to be discussed. These could be questions about menstrual periods and about sex, including the following:

  • Have you started having menstrual periods?
  • Are your periods regular? Do you experience any uncomfortable symptoms with your periods?
  • Are you sexually active? Don't forget that performing oral sex is being sexually active.
  • How long have you been sexually active?
  • How many partners have you had?
  • Have you had a pelvic exam (also called a gynecological exam) or Pap test before?
  • Are you using birth control?
  • What type of birth control are you using?
  • Are you comfortable with your birth control method?
  • Are you aware of how to protect yourself from HPV and other sexually transmitted infections?
  • Do you want to be screened for sexually transmitted infections?

These questions may seem a bit embarrassing, but it's important to answer them honestly. This will help your doctor provide the best care and advice.

Questions to ask the doctor about HPV

Not sure what to ask the doctor? Here are a few sample questions:

  • What is HPV, and what health problems can HPV cause?
  • How is HPV spread, and how can I protect myself?
  • What does it mean to practise "safer sex"? How will it help protect me?
  • When should I have a Pap test and pelvic exam? What will happen during the exam?
  • What are all the things I can do to protect myself from HPV?
  • What else do I need to know about protecting myself from HPV and other sexually transmitted infections?
  • What should I tell my partner(s) about HPV and safer sex?

Remember, this is your chance to ask the health questions that are on your mind, even if they are embarrassing. The more honest you are with the doctor, the better your doctor will be able to help you.