HPV Information

What is HPV?

HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that is considered to be one of the most common in the United States, as well as many other parts of the world. The term HPV is actually used to describe over 150 different viruses, all related to the Human Papillomavirus infection. Different types of HPV viruses, also called strains, are classified by specific numbers. Some strains of these viruses are more harmful than others. This is also one of the more complicated sexually transmitted infections due to the fact that it often does not yield any symptoms that may signal the presence of HPV. This sexually transmitted infection already infected around 45.2% of men and 39.9% of women in the United States. At least 80% of all people are estimated to be infected with HPV at some point in their life.

What symptoms does HPV cause?

If you have the HPV virus it is most likely that you may not have any obvious symptoms like most other sexually transmitted infections do. This is one of the most significant problems that the healthcare industry, as well as the infected part of the population, is currently facing in regards to the virus.

The majority of the HPV strains that can infect you tend to cause warts – these are often considered more a complication than a symptom, but still provides an indication that a person may be infected with one of these viruses. It should be noted, however, that the development of warts usually means that the body was unable to fight off the viruses that cause the HPV infection.

There are different types of warts that may develop upon the infection with a virus classified under this category of infections. Some common warts that tend to develop when a person is infected with HPV include:

  • Common warts
  • Flat warts
  • Plantar Warts
  • Genital warts

The specific types of warts that a person may develop following an HPV infection depends on the particular strain of virus that they have been infected with.

What are the complications of HPV?

The complications associated with this infection are considered troublesome and can lead to possibly fatal complications. Warts are often considered both a symptom and complication but are harmful in the majority of cases. The other complications that may be caused by an HPV infection are considered more serious.

There are cases where warts can become problematic. In particular, pregnant women with genital warts that becomes enlarged may experience complications during childbirth. There have also been some cases where a noncancerous growth developed on the larynx of the baby when the mother is affected by genital warts that are large enough to cause a blockage in the birth canal.

Certain virus strains that cause the HPV infection are known to lead to lesions in the upper respiratory tract, as well as the oral area of the infected person. These lesions may develop on the soft palate, tongue nose, in the larynx, and on the tonsils of a person infected with the specific HPV strains.

The most troublesome complications of HPV are the fact that the virus has been directly linking to some cancers. Not all strains of viruses associated with HPV causes cancer. Some common cancers associated with certain strains of these viruses include:

  • Anal cancer
  • Vulvar cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Penile cancer

HPV itself does not cause symptoms that may lead to life-threatening problems in an infected person. The infection can, however, cause the death of an infected person indirectly. HPV is known to contribute to a much higher risk of developing certain cancers in both men and women. When the virus causes the development of such cancer in an infected person, then cancer can cause death.

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How is HPV diagnosed?


How do I know if I am at a high risk for HPV?

Since the HPV is an STI, having unprotected sexual-intercourse can highly increase your chances of contracting it. Also, if you tend to have a weakened immune system, you are at a higher risk of developing HPV following the exposure to one of the HPV virus strains.

What countries are considered high risks for HPV?

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Is there a vaccine to prevent HPV?

Yes, in fact, there are many! The vaccines that are available protect a person against specific types of HPV viruses – in most cases, these vaccines aim to provide individuals with protection against the higher risk HPV strains that are known to cause cancer.

The most common vaccines provided to individuals at risk include:

  • Gardasil
  • Gardasil 9
  • Cervarix

Other options are also available on the market. Many of these vaccines can be provided to children as young as nine years old. Older individuals who have not yet been vaccinated against the HPV infection should also consider obtaining the appropriate vaccines to avoid becoming infected upon the exposure to these viruses.

Other ways to prevent HPV

Safe sexual-intercourse

In order to prevent contracting HPV, prevention starts with safer sexual intercourse – through the use of condoms. It should, however, be noted that condoms are not considered a technique for providing 100% protection, but can help to reduce the risk of HPV transmission.

What are the treatment options for HPV?

Treatment for the HPV infection itself is not available, but there are management options available to help reduce the effects that the infection has on a person who has been infected. In most cases, treatments are provided to a person infected with HPV to help remove warts that are caused by the infection.

The most common treatment options for HPV-related warts include the use of salicylic acid solutions, as well as trichloroacetic acid solutions. Imiquimod and podofilox are also sometimes used. Imiquimod helps to strengthen the immune system against the HPV viruses. Podofilox is used externally to destroy genital warts directly.

Surgical approaches to the removal of warts have also been suggested. Additionally, other methods, such as the use of laser surgery, cryotherapy and electrocautery have also been used successfully in the treatment of these warts.

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