What is Human Papilloma virus?

Mostly called HPV, human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Most HPV usually goes away on its own and it’s really not harmful but there are some types that can lead to cancer or genital warts if care is not taken. This type of virus is very common globally.

Basically, there are approximately 100-200 types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Whereby about 40 of this type can infect the human genital area, that is (the vulva, vagina, cervix, rectum, anus, penis, and scrotum). It can also infect the mouth and throat.

How human papillomavirus (HPV) is spread?

There are various ways you can spread HPV to another part of the body. the act that it is called a sexually transmitted disease does not mean that it is solely spread through sex. The kinds of HPV that are spread during sexual contact is when there is sexual contact with an infected person and uninfected person. While the other types of HPV may cause common warts like hand warts and plantar warts on the feet, however, this type is usually not sexually transmitted but through physical contact.

In generally HPV can be spread through:

  • 1. Making skin-to-skin contact of the genital area with an infected person.
  • 2. Through oral, anal or vaginal sex.
  • 3. Sharing sex toys with an infected person.
  • 4. Touching an infected person.

Common conditions which are  linked to HPV

As stated before, not all HPV lead to cancer or cause problems. But studies have shown that some people who have HPV may have genital warts for both male and female and also changes in the cells that are abnormal and that in some cases turn into cancer.

Its very much possible to have HPV without it resulting in any cancer in the future.  nevertheless, there are cases where human papillomavirus may lead to cancer, this type of HPV  are called high-risk types.

What are the symptoms of HPV?

Unlike many viruses out there that shows some certain type of symptoms, It’s quite unfortunate that HPV has no symptoms till it results in high health issues to those affected. This is why good regular medical checkups are appropriate. During checkups, early stages of cancer or abnormal cell changes which leads to cancer can be easily detected and treated.

One good test to perform that could expose abnormal cells in the cervix is the Pap Test. although Pap test doesn’t directly test for cancer or HPV, it may assist in discovering abnormal cell changes that are likely caused by HPV.

Some other cancer which can be caused by HPV includes:

  • 1. Anal cancer
  • 2. Cervical cancer
  • 3. Vulvar cancer
  • 4. Penile cancer
  • 5. Throat cancer
  • 6. Vaginal cancer and some few other

cancer in the head and the neck.

There are few possible symptoms of this cancer in their early and late stages, they include:.

Anal cancer: experiencing anal bleeding, pain, discharge, or changes in bowel habits or itching.

Penile cancer: this is a cancer of the penis. There are possible notable symptoms like changes in colour or thickness of the skin of the penis, or very painful sore might appear on the penis.

Throat Cancer: There is possibly sore throat or ear pain that don’t seem to go away. The person might also experience constant coughing, pain or having trouble when swallowing or breathing. There is visible loss of weight or a lump or mass on the neck.

Vulvar cancer: this is known as the cancer of the vulva. Possibly symptoms might include changes in the colour/thickness of the skin of your vulva. There could be itching there, chronic pain, or there may be a lump.

Testing for Human Papillomavirus

When testing for HPV, there are no blood test but cervical screening. When conducting the test, a small sample of cells is taken from the patient cervix and use it in testing for HPV.

Cervical screening can be done to all women and people with a cervix aged of about 25 to 64.  Another good thing about this screening is that it helps protect against cervical cancer.

How to protect yourself against HPV

There are few ways of protecting yourself against HPV,  these include:.

  • Using a condom during sex. Though the condom can not cover all the part of the genital but its still very much important in guarding against HPV.
  • The HPV vaccine can be used to protect against most cases of genital warts and cervical cancer. Note that this vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV.

Treatment for Human Papillomavirus

There is usually no treatment for HPV as the wart goes on its own. But it’s always best to show and talk to your doctor about issues relating to human papillomavirus.