November 1, 2009 by admin 

HPV or the human papillomavirus is the most common of all sexually transmitted diseases. This virus will infect mucous membranes and skin, and there are over 40 types of HPV that infect the genital areas. HPV is not a virus that is seen, and many who become infected do not realize they are infected.SymptomsThere are normally not symptoms associated with HPV, but sometimes certain types of HPV can cause Genital Warts as well as cancers of the vulva, anus and penis. HPV is considered a low risk or wart causing virus, or high risk, which causes cancers. In most cases, the immune system clears the infection naturally without treatment for low risk HPV diseases. Symptoms of the warts are small bumps or groups of bumps that occur in the genital areas. These are raised or flat, and come in all shapes and sizes and are normally flesh colored. These are normally found on the vulva, vagina and anus, cervix, penis, scrotum and groin or thigh. Cervical cancers don’t have symptoms until they are advanced, and other HPV cancers may not have symptoms until fully advanced as well. TransmissionGenital HPVs are passed through contact with genitals, normally during vaginal or anal sex. A person can have the HPV virus years after the sexual encounter, but most people do not realize they are infected until tested. Pregnant women rarely pass this on to their children during vaginal delivery, but it can happen. The child then can develop warts on the voice box resulting in a condition called RRP or recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. PreventionThere is a vaccination called Gardisil for women aged 9-26 that is given as 3 injections over a 6 month period that is used to prevent the HPV infections. This will not protect against cells that are already infected, nor will it cure or be used in those with a current HPV infection. Limiting sexual partners and always using protection including diaphragms and condoms will help to prevent infection. Condoms do not fully protect against HPV, because there are HPV viruses that use only skin on skin contact to be contracted. Being tested for HPV is as simple for females as having an annual Pap test, and for men there is no preventive test. TreatmentsTreatments for HPV overall do not exist, as there are over 40 variants of the disease. But treatments are available for some of the diseases that HPV causes including Genital Warts, cervical cancer and other cancers. Genital Warts are treated by topical solutions applied by a physician or gels given to a patient to be applied at home. Most times when treatment is not sought, the warts do go away on their own. Cervical cancers are most treatable when diagnosed and found early. New surgeries as well as radiation therapy and chemotherapy are available for treatments. Other HPV related cancers are treated when diagnosed, and there are many forms and combinations of chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries available as options for these cancers.


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