HPV, also known as human papillomavirus, is a family of viruses that live in the epithelial cells of the human body and under certain conditions cause their rapid division and degeneration. As a result, such unpleasant formations as warts, papillomas, and condylomas grow on the skin. But this is not the worst when infected with papillomavirus. Scientists have found that HPV can trigger the development of a cancerous tumor.
Of course, this does not mean at all that if a person is found to have HPV, then he will certainly get cancer. Moreover, the papillomavirus, according to some sources, affects about 60-70% of the world’s population, and according to others – 90%.
Firstly, the virus becomes active only under certain conditions, namely with a decrease in immunity. It is during this period that viruses can penetrate the cells of the skin and mucous membrane, integrate into their chromosomes and transform them. If the immune system works fine, it destroys HPV or at least prevents it from activating.
And secondly, not all HPVs are so dangerous. In general, about 80 types of viruses, indicated by numbers, can live in the human body. According to the degree of oncogenicity, that is, the probability of causing cancer, they are all divided into non-oncogenic (types 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 28, 49), low oncogenic risk viruses (types 6, 11, 42, 43, 44 ) and viruses of high oncogenic risk (types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66 and 68). Especially dangerous are 16 and 18 types.
Consider what the HPV threatens us with.
Types 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 28, 49 cause a variety of warts: ordinary, or vulgar, on the fingers (type 2), plantar (types 1 and 2), flat, or youthful (types 3 and 5). The latter are mainly affected by children who become infected through cuts, scratches, abrasions.
Multiple papillomas on the larynx develop under the influence of HPV type 11. They can appear in a child born to a mother suffering from genital warts, and infected during the passage of the birth canal.
A rather unpleasant phenomenon is genital warts located on the genitals, near the anus, as well as on the lips and in the oral cavity. They owe their appearance to HPV types 6, 11, 13, 16, 18, etc. Such manifestations of HPV are typical mainly for adults, and infection occurs, as a rule, through sexual contact (including anal and oral). Very rarely, genital warts can be infected through the household: in the toilet, bath, bath, using hygiene items of an infected person.
Another type of manifestation of HPV – types 16, 18, 31, 33, 42, 48, 51, 54 – small flat plaques around the genitals. They most often affect men, especially those who often change sexual partners.
The most dangerous manifestation of human papillomavirus infection is cervical dysplasia – changes in the structure of the cells of its mucous membrane. Doctors attribute cervical dysplasia to precancerous conditions. But this does not mean that the cancerous tumor already exists or will immediately begin to develop. But if dysplasia is not treated, then such an outcome is likely. Dysplasia should not be confused with cervical erosion – these are two different things.
The main cause of cervical dysplasia is HPV infection of 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 40, 42, 43, 55, 57, 59, 61, 62, 66 and 67 types. Of all cases of cervical dysplasia, only about 10% are not associated with human papilloma viruses.
In men, HPV infection of types 16 and 18 can cause penile skin cancer.
If you have detected the human papillomavirus, you do not need to panic. As already noted, almost all the inhabitants of our planet are carriers of HPV. With manifestations of infection: warts, condylomas, papillomas – modern medicine has learned to fight. They are removed in various ways: by electric current, laser, scalpel, liquid nitrogen, etc. True, doctors have not yet learned how to completely rid a person of the virus. But a healthy lifestyle, strong immunity, a reliable sexual partner (preferably one) or the use of a condom – and the body will cope with the infection itself. For the prevention of the most dangerous papillomavirus types 16 and 18, a vaccine exists today.