HPV – what is it?
HPV, or the human papillomavirus, also known as human papillomavirus, is a family of viruses that, penetrating the skin cells and mucous membranes, cause the development of warts and papillomas in them. Papillomavirus is a large family, today more than 500 types of HPV are known, but about 80 types are dangerous for humans. Why are they dangerous?
In addition to purely cosmetic defects in the form of warts and papillomas, certain types of HPV can lead to the development of the cancer process. Depending on this property, viruses are divided according to the degree of oncogenicity into non-oncogenic, low-, medium- and highly oncogenic.
How is papillomavirus transmitted?
Human papillomavirus is very common. According to medical scientists, today HPV virus infected 70% of the world’s population. According to experts, every year tens of millions of infected HPVs are detected, and only part of the cases of infection is detected: someone does not have symptoms of the disease, and someone simply does not go to the doctor.
For HPV to enter the body, it is necessary that there is direct contact of the virus with the skin or mucous membranes. But most often, the infection penetrates the skin through microtrauma. As a rule, HPV is destroyed by the immune system. But if the immune system is weakened, the virus invades the skin cells, causing them to divide excessively in a certain area, which leads to the appearance of warts and papillomas.
Often, infection occurs in childhood. The virus enters the child’s body through scratches, abrasions, other skin lesions, contributing to the development of warts.
Some types of the virus that cause genital warts in adults enter the body through sexual contact, both traditional and anal and oral. In this case, the probability of infection is very high: with a single unprotected sex with the carrier of infection, it is 75%.
HPV can be transmitted from a genital wart mother to her baby during childbirth. In this case, he also becomes infected, and in the future he may develop genital warts or papillomatosis of the respiratory tract and larynx.
It is very rarely possible to get infected through the household way – through hygiene items, in the toilet, bath, and bath.
The incubation period of HPV infection is usually 2-3 months, but it can be shorter and longer, reaching several years, and all this time a person will not even suspect that he is infected.
How is HPV detected and treated?
Genital warts are easily detected upon examination by a gynecologist (in women) and a urologist (in men). The PCR test, histological (tissue sample) and cytological (smear) studies help to detect the presence of a virus in the body.
Today it is believed that it is impossible to completely remove HPV from the body. Therefore, the fight against papillomavirus, as a rule, consists in getting rid of its manifestations and consequences: removal of genital warts, warts, treatment of cervical erosion.
To remove warts and genital warts, use a scalpel, laser, radio waves, electric current, liquid nitrogen, acids and alkalis. It is also recommended to take antiviral drugs and drugs that increase immunity.
Only a doctor should treat the manifestations of papillomavirus infection. But the best cure for the virus is prevention. It boils down to the following set of rules (which, by the way, will protect against infection with other infections):
Legibility in sexual relations.
Condom use during sexual intercourse.
Compliance with personal hygiene.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle to maintain immunity at a high level.
Vaccination against oncogenic viruses of types 6, 11, 16, 18.