Human papillomavirus infection: Description, causes and Risk Factors:Abbreviation: HPV.Human papillomavirus infection is the most common sexually transmitted viral disease. The interval between exposure and clinical evidence of disease ranges from 3 weeks to 8 months. Because there are more than 100 types of HPV, with more than 40 anogenital types of which approximately 15 are oncogenic.Human papillomavirus infection occurs when a type of HPV virus enter your body through a break in the skin or other body surface. Once inside, the virus infects skin cells (keratinocytes) and reproduces itself. The virus may remain active for up to two years or even longer, but in most cases it will become inactive and may persist in the body in a dormant state for long periods. During this time, the virus may be transmitted to another person. The longer that an infection remains active in the body, the greater is the risk that it may lead to cancer.Genital human papillomavirus infection is usually passed from one person to another by skin-to-skin contact during vaginal or anal sex. Any genital contact with someone who has genital HPV can pass the virus. Both men and women can get genital HPV and pass it on without ever knowing it. Sexually active younger women and teen girls are at greater risk for HPV infection because their cervical cells are not fully mature. It is estimated that 50% of all sexually active people get at least one type of HPV infection. Genital infections caused by the Human Papilloma virus can also be responsible for cervical cancer and other genital cancers.Risk Factors:Age: Women under the age of 25 are most likely to have an active human papillomavirus infection. Younger men are also more likely to get HPV but most of these cases are never diagnosed.
Weakened immune system: Anyone with a weakened immune system is at greater risk of contracting genital HPV.
You or any of your sexual partners have had a history of sexually transmitted diseases.
You had sexual contact at an early age.
Either you or your sexual partners have had many different sexual partners at any time.
Any of your sexual partners did not wear a condom.
Symptoms of human papillomavirus infection:Most HPV infections have no signs or symptoms. So someone can be infected and pass the disease on to another person without knowing.Other symptoms Include:Warts, including common warts, plantar warts, flat warts and genital warts.
Precancerous lesions, including on the cervix.
Other precancerous lesions or cancer, including on the penis, anus, vagina, and vulva.
Diagnosis:Diagnosis of HPV infection is based on visual inspection (including colposcopy with application of acetic acid to the cervix), Pap smear, and biopsy, with detection of viral DNA in tissue.The best method of detecting and diagnosing HPV in women is through a regular pelvic exam and Pap smear. There is no screening test available for men to determine if they are infected with HPV. Genital warts can be diagnosed through visual examination of the penis and surrounding areas.Treatment Options:You will have to go to a doctor or health care provider to get treatment for genital warts.Treatment options include:
Cryotherapy (freezing the warts off).
Electrodessication (burning the warts off with electric current).
Laser therapy (using intense light to destroy the warts).
Surgery (cutting off the warts).
Treating the warts with chemicals.
Other, less common treatments for warts include the drugs 5-FU (5-fluorouracil) and Interferon-alpha. A new drug, imiquimod (Aldara), has been approved for treatment of genital warts. Cidofovir (Vistide), originally developed to fight cytomegalovirus (CMV), might also help fight HPV. HPV infection can last for a long time, especially in people who are HIV-positive. Dysplasia and warts can return. They should be treated as soon as they are found to reduce the chances of the problem spreading or returning.In June 2006, the FDA approved a vaccine called "Gardasil" for the prevention of HPV in females. The vaccine protects against four types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers (subtypes 16 and 18) and genital warts (subtypes 6 and 11). It is given in three doses over a period of six months and is most effective if given before becoming sexually active.Anyone who is allergic to the ingredients of Gardasil, including those severely allergic to yeast, should not receive the vaccine. Gardasil is not for women who are pregnant. The side effects include pain, swelling, itching, bruising, and redness at the injection site, headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and fainting. Fainting can happen after getting Gardasil. Sometimes people who faint can fall and hurt themselves. For this reason, your health care professional may ask you to sit or lie down for 15 minutes after you get Gardasil. Some people who faint might shake or become stiff. This may require evaluation or treatment by your health care professional.Disclaimer: The following tests, drugs and medications, surgical procedures are in some way related to, or used in the treatment. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.
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