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Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

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Human Papillomavirus

By Rawlings Oke Godwin

On 3 Jan, 2022

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What is the HPV (Human Papillomavirus)?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common viral infection that is spread through skin-to-skin contact, particularly oral, anal, and vaginal sex. According to some research, three out of every four people will contract HPV at some point in their lives.

HPV infection frequently has no obvious symptoms. HPV comes in approximately 100 different varieties, some of which cause genital warts and others cervical cancer. Cervarix® and Gardasil®, two vaccinations, are now available to prevent infection by some of these HPV strains.

What are the causes of HPV?

The human papillomavirus is a virus that is spread from person to person by skin-to-skin contact. HPV causes genital warts in some people and cervical cancer in others.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of genital warts?

Small growths that appear in or around the vagina, penis, anus, vulva, or cervix are known as genital warts.

What is the treatment for genital warts?

Depending on the location of the warts, genital warts can be treated with medication administered directly to the warts or with surgery.

What is the relationship between HPV and cancer?

HPV has been associated with cancers of the anus, cervix, vagina, and vulva, as well as cancers of the head and neck, in a variety of strains. Types 16 and 18 of the HPV virus are the most commonly linked to cervical cancer.

HPV can cause precancer and cancer when a woman’s immune system fails to remove the virus, as it does in the majority of cases. When HPV infects the cervix’s surface cells, it causes them to develop abnormally.

Dysplasia, also known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), is a change in the tissue that covers the cervix that can develop into cervical cancer.

HPV and cervical cancer are diagnosed in a variety of ways.

The following are examples of possible diagnoses:

  • A Pap test to detect abnormal alterations in cervical cells early.
  • An HPV test for women over 30 to detect high-risk HPV types

How can I protect myself from HPV?

HPV has no known treatment. The following are some lifestyle choices that may help prevent the spread of HPV:

  • Having safe sex, despite the fact that condoms do not usually cover the entire affected area and so cannot entirely protect against HPV.
  • Keeping the number of sexual partners to a minimum
  • Quit smoking because it reduces the body’s ability to fight the virus.
  • Immunizations before an infection

What are the different types of HPV vaccines?

HPV types 16 and 18 are the most common causes of cervical cancer, while HPV types 6 and 11 are the most common causes of genital warts. The Cervarix® vaccine protects against HPV strains 16 and 18, which are linked to cervical cancer.

HPV 16, 18, 6, and 11 are all protected by the Gardasil® vaccine. Other kinds of HPV are not protected by immunizations.

HPV Immunizations

Both immunizations are administered in three doses over the course of six months. Both are advised for females between the ages of 11 and 26. When given before a woman becomes sexually active and is exposed to HPV, the vaccinations are most effective.

The vaccines can be given after a woman has had intercourse, has genital warts, has had abnormal Pap test results, or has been infected with HPV, but they will only protect her against the strains covered by the vaccines that she has not yet been infected with.

Take note of the following:

  • Neither vaccination may be used to treat an existing HPV infection.
  • Cervical cancer and vaginal warts are not fully protected by the immunizations since they do not protect against all kinds of HPV.
  • The immunizations are not recommended for pregnant women, but they are safe for nursing mothers.
  • Even with immunizations, women should get Pap exams on a regular basis.

 

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