What’s HPV Infection?

INTRODUCTION

HPV infection occurs in all the continents of the world and all countries. It has become very topical in the past decade, for reasons we will outline later. So what’s HPV infection?

This article will explain what HPV infection is. We will learn its clinical and public health significance. Then we will explore prevention for HPV, if there is any.

THE HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS

HPV is an abbreviation for Human Papilloma Virus. Human implies that the infection occurs in humans and not animals. Papilloma is derived from Latin “papilla” which means nipple; papilloma is a nipple-shaped protuberance.

HPV AND WARTS

Warts are the most well known manifestation of Human Papilloma Virus infection. They mostly occur externally, on the skin or mucus membranes and are therefore usually obvious. It is indeed warts, which are nipple- or finger-like, that give HPV its name.

This toad has the appearance of warts

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HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS & CANCER

Certain serotypes of HPV (not all of them) cause DNA changes. These DNA changes can progress, become pre-cancerous, and ultimately cause cancer cells. This is how a cancer develops from those viruses that cause cancer.

Cancer, the crab

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HOW TO PREVENT HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS

From a behavioral point of view, HPV can be prevented by avoiding coming into direct contact with potentially infectious surfaces. Skin and mucous membrane warts can be transmitted via touching.

FINAL WORDS

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) has for centuries been an important viral infectious disease globally. It is contagious and therefore very prevalent. And even people who do not display symptoms or signs of HPV, can be infectious.

The diseases caused by the Human Papilloma Virus differ in severity. Some may just be a bit of a cosmetic inconvenience.

But heavy infection with HPV can be very disfiguring. At the other end of the spectrum, human papilloma virus can cause a serious ailment in the form of cancer.

Vaccinating girls and women will get rid of HPV and of cervical cancer

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