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Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) by Kateryna Petrakova

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The Human Papilloma Virus is a sexually transmitted disease and mostly associated with genital infections. HPV is a type of infection that causes the appearance of warts on different parts of the body. There are over a hundred types of HPV. Approximately one-third causes genital infections that appear as a bundle of abnormal cells, also called papillomas. HPV can live only in squamous epithelial cells of the body that can be found on genital organs, as well as, mouth, throat, trachea, bronchi and lungs. However, the majority of the types of HPV appear in the non-genital area of the body.

HPV is a virus transmitted during sexual intercourse, primarily during skin-to-skin contact. Some individuals, infected with HPV, don’t know about the infection, because most of the times it doesn’t cause any specific noticeable symptoms and therefore hard to detect.

Of the two types of HPV, low-risk HPV types are viruses that appear as abnormal cells, but are not likely to become cancerous.  The other type, high-risk HPV, are those that can have a great chance to develop into cancer, both in men and women.

HPV primarily causes cervical cancer in women. They are more likely to get infected and live with the virus for years without detection, that can potentially convert normal healthy cells into cancerous. Still, men can develop cancerous abnormal cells on their genital organs. The most common among high-risk HPV types are HPV16 and HPV18 and are considered to be the most dangerous HPV types that lead to cancer.

There are several factors that increase the chances of getting the infection. Among them are: unprotected sexual activity with a large number of partners, irregular testing, having multiple partners at the same time, and poor hygiene. Women aged 20-24 are more likely to be infected due to the identified environmental and causal factors, but with the help of medical professionals, the HPV can be treated and eliminated with little to no further complications. The most important part in treating HPV is to be able to identify the infection in early stages. Women of all ages are recommended to take a pap-smear test and treat potentially cancerous cells before they become problematic.

There are also vaccines available to prevent contracting HPV.  The two most common vaccines include Cardasil and Cervarix. Cardasil has been approved for use in men and women aged 9-26 and has been proven to prevent several types of HPV, including HPV16 and HPV18, the most dangerous ones. Cervarix, however, only works against these two HPV types.

Although there are vaccines and treatments for HPV, the best option is to live a healthy lifestyle and use appropriate protection if engaging in sexual activity. If there are questions or concerns, an appropriate action would be to contact the appropriate medical professionals and see them on a regular basis.



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  1. http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/hpv-genital-warts/cervical-cancer-hpv-what-women-girls-should-know?page=1
  2. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/OtherCarcinogens/InfectiousAgents/HPV/HumanPapillomaVirusandHPVVaccinesFAQ/hpv-faq-what-is-hpv
  3. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hpv-infection/DS00906
  4. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cervical-cancer/AN00386



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