Human Papilloma Virus



Home       Causes        Symptoms    Test          Treatment        Picture

Overview Of Testing/Treatment        Sources



        Human Papilloma Virus is a STD that can effect the genital areas of both males and females. HPV is actually a virus that almost all people get one time in their life. The HPV virus has over a hundred different strands. Of those, around thirty are sexually transmitted so HPV can be considered a communicable virus. There are twelve different strands that are considered "low risk" strands they are considered low risk because they do not cause cervical cancer. There are also twelve that are considered "high risk" because they can cause changes in the cervix of women. In a good majority of the cases where women have HPV, the women's immune system fights off the virus. According to the American Cancer Society over 9,700 women will contract cervical cancer due to HPV. The CDC says that over 80% of women will contract HPV before the age off 50.At least 50% of both males and females who are sexually active will acquire the HPV.  So as you can see from both the information above and the information below HPV is a real concern that people need to take serious.



   Since there are over 100 different strands of the Human Papilloma Virus this website will deal mainly with the strands that can lead to cervical cancer. The main way the these strands can be contracted is through intimate or sexual contact (skin-skin). Although condoms do reduce the risk of spreading the virus but they do not give you a 100% insurance because they do not cover the entire genital region so there is still the possibility of contact. Some people ask the question, "Can HPV be spread through oral sex?". According to research done by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist the chance of this actually happening are remote. The main problem here is that a good majority of cases do not have any visible symptoms. Although the virus can cause genital warts it is not always the case. So even though a person is having intercourse with a person who has no signs of HPV and uses a condom there is still a likely hood of contract the virus.



    As mentioned in the opening paragraph the viruses are categorized into "low risk" or "high risk". First lets discuss the symptoms of the "low risk" strands. The "low risk" strands have very few symptoms or have no symptoms at all. The most common of the symptoms are genital warts. Genital warts are usually pink or flesh colored in the genital area. These warts can be either flat or raised or cauliflower shaped, can be a single wart or together in a group, and are usually on the vulva or the area around the vagina or anus or the cervix for women. As for men the warts can be on the penis, scrotum or on the inner groin/thigh.

    When it comes to the "high risk" strands of the virus there are a few differences. Like the "low risk" strands, there are few visible symptoms. The reason for this is the the virus is not very "active" for a long period of time. If these strand do stay active, that is when some test need to be done. If the strand do stay active they can cause changes in the cells in a woman's cervix. If this does happen, there are some symptoms that will notify a woman that she may need a PAP smear. These symptoms are unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding (especially after sex), pain in the lower back region, pain while urinating, and pain during intercourse. If a woman is experiencing any or all of these it does not necessarily mean she has cancer, but it means that it is time for a doctors visit and some test to be done.



    If a woman does experience any of the above symptoms she should schedule a visit with a Gynecologist. There are two different ways to test for HPV. The first test is a regular PAP smear. With this test, a doctor removes a sample of cells from the woman's cervix. The cells are then sent to a lab where a lab technician looks at the cells through a microscope and uses their own judgment if they believe any of the cells look abnormal. The problem with this test that it is a lab tech's judgment. The second type of test is a HPV test. This is an automated test that looks for the strands of the "high risk" virus that causes the cells to become abnormal. With this test, it is not anyone's judgment but technology that interprets the test, taking out the factor of human error.




    If a woman does get the bad news that she has cervical cancer from the HPV virus she must then under go some treatments. The goal of these treatments is to remove the affect tissue before it turns cancerous. The main treatment for this is a LEEP treatment. LEEP stands for Loop Electrosurgical Extension Procedure. This procedure is commonly done only after a colonoscopy and a cervical biopsy. The procedure involves a doctor inserting a spectrum into the vagina and using a electrically charged loop burn the abnormal cells. After this treatment a PAP smear is suggested every 3-6 months for at least a year until all of the PAP smears come back clear.

    Since HPV is such a common disease, a researcher have came up with a vaccine. The vaccines name is Gardasil. The vaccine is suggested for females age 9-26. It is also suggested that a girl gets this vaccine before she becomes sexually active. This shot comes in 3 different session. Since this a new vaccine it is not know yet if women will need a booster shot over a certain period of time. Early research has shown that this vaccine has a 100% effectiveness rate. Since this is a vaccine, it is not a cure and can only be effective if taken before contracting the virus.

    Since there is no cure for HPV, eradication can only be done by vaccinating our youth. There are many debates going on throughout different state rather this vaccine should be required for females go to school, just like many other vaccines. 




The chain of infection for HPV. The Reservior is the actually virus inside a human body. The portal of exit is direct skin contact with a person who is infected. The mode of transmission is direct contact. The portal of entry is through the skin. Now the susceptible host is the person who is the new host.







HPV on a epithelial cell.                                                    A woman receiving an HPV vaccine.




Picture of an abnormal cervical cell.