Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Pelvis | Gynecology | Human papillomavirus (HPV) (Disease)


The Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a collection of viruses causing warts, including on the genitals and may cause cancerous changes in the cervix. HPV is spread through direct contact. There are more than 100 types of HPV.

Some types of HPV cause genital warts. In women, certain types of HPV increase the risk for cervical cancer. Other types of HPV cause common warts, plantar (filiform or flat) and in rare cases genital warts. These types of warts are not cancerous.

Causes and Risk factors

The HPV enters the body, usually through a break in the skin, and then infects the cells in the layers of the skin. The virus then replicates or multiplies in the body. The time between first contracting HPV and the appearance of lesions can be weeks to months or even years. Many people don’t even know they are infected with HPV.

The virus lives in the mucous membrane, such as on the skin or genital area. The warts can be a warning sign of possible infection with HPV. Genital warts may appear as flat lesions, small cauliflower-like bumps or tiny stem-like protrusions. In women, genital warts appear most commonly on the vulva but may also occur near the anus, on the cervix or in the vagina, while in men, genital warts may appear on the penis and scrotum or around the anus. Genital warts rarely cause discomfort or pain, though they may itch.

Signs of infection may occur at a distance of several weeks or months after intercourse. For this reason, the person in question has no way of knowing that he/she is a carrier of HPV. Condoms, don’t unfortunately offer any kind of protection against HPV. Because some types of HPV are associated with certain cancers, including cervical cancer, of the vulva, the anus or the penis, it is good to know that they always arrive accompanied by visible signs of the disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In most cases, warts disappear without treatment in about two years. However, treatment enhances the disappearance of warts. With or without treatment, the HPV remains stuck in the body, and warts can reappear. ...

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