HPV (Human Papillomavirus): What You Need to Know


In U.S., HPV infections are the most common S.T.I (sexually transmitted infections). This is according to the latest reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Currently, an average of 80 million people of United States population is infected with Human Papillomavirus. Further stats indicate that each year, about 14 million new infections are also recorded in the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that sexually active adults are prone to contract HPV. Out of the over 100 types of Human Papillomavirus varieties, many of them are not problematic as such. A number of them usually clear up without any medical intervention even up to two years of their presence. WHO terms these types of infections as “low-risk” whereas the “high-risk” ones are of 13 varieties and can last and, later on, advance to cancer.


The virus is majorly contracted and spread through direct skin-to-skin contact. The most identified skin contact that facilitates contraction of HPV is sexual intercourse. This is mainly through unprotected vaginal, anal and even oral sex. In terms of contraction, no gender is compromised when it comes to the virus infection. According to Dr. Barbara Pahud of Children’s Mercy Hospital’s vaccine unit, sexually active adults will contract at least one variety of the infection at one point or another in their respective entire lives.


It is very likely to contract Human Papillomavirus and have the infection without getting to realize even a single bit. Symptoms of the infection in some people don’t manifest at all. Depending on the kind of contracted infection, manifested symptoms may vary. Warts are the most common known symptoms of HPV and they include plantar, genital or even common warts.


Statistics indicate that over 40 Human Papillomavirus varieties mostly affect the genital areas of humans. HPV 6 and 11 are known to cause about 90% of all known genital warts. The body’s immune system is responsible for the absence of any symptoms in cases of any probable HPV infection as it eliminates it before any damage happens.

Unfortunately, the virus can cause some funny conditions that would result in the appearance of other symptoms. In some circumstances, the virus infection can lead to cancers such as vaginal, vulvar, cervical in women and penile cancer in the males.  Genital warts, anal cancer, and throat cancer can also be caused by this virus in both females and males. In chronic infection cases, HPV can lead to carcinoma development.


Detection of Human Papillomavirus is done through a pap smear test. Regular medical examination of the genital areas can also help in detecting HPV.


Protected sex helps in the prevention of these infections. The HPV vaccine is also the surest way of keeping off the virus. The vaccine, when given to kids at ages staring 11 gives the body a strong immune system. Women and men should be given the vaccine up to 26 and 21 years respectively to facilitate the prevention of HPV.

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