The truth and myths about the human papilloma virus

human papilloma virus

HPV, or human papilloma virus, is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the 21st century. It is easy to collect and impossible to treat. Sound scary? We answer the most popular questions about this infection in our material!

What type of virus is this? Are you new?

HPV is actually as old as the world. It is the person who causes the appearance of warts, papillomas, genital warts and other skin formations.

These viruses were combined into one group in 1971. The number of HPV types detected is about 600. In fact, there may be many more. The only critical difference between these strains is that some are low onco risk and others are high onco risk. In modern medical practice, it is not customary to check the existence of all 600 species, the main thing is to find out if a person is a carrier of 16 strains, 14 of which cause precancerous conditions: 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66, 68. The remainder - 6 and 11 - are responsible for the formation of genital warts that need to be treated. The virus is particularly dangerous for women as it can cause cervical cancer. However, men are also at risk: genital cancer often develops from the destructive effect of HPV inside cells.

How to pass?

Sexual and domestic ways. Still, sexually transmitted disease is the most common. A woman is more than 50% likely to become infected during the first years of sexual activity. The surest way to avoid HPV is to avoid unprotected casual sex and use condoms. However, even a condom does not provide one hundred percent protection, because HPV is transmitted through contact with mucous membranes: kissing, contact during foreplay, and oral sex.

The more sexual partners the more likely you are to contract: the more sexually active you are, the more likely you are to be infected with HPV. Domestic transmission is also possible: when using someone else's towel or shaver.

If your partner has been infected with a virus, then there is a high probability that you have also been infected. Men with HPV develop genital warts and flat warts on both the penis and groin. If you suddenly notice strange skin growths, inform your boyfriend immediately and take appropriate tests.

How do I know if I have HPV?

The easiest way is to take a gynecological smear for HPV and cytology. As we mentioned earlier, only 16 strains of the virus were checked. Without tests, it is possible to suspect you have the 6th or 11th strain: if you or your partner has a papilloma or genital warts, you are most likely a carrier of papillomavirus and tests will confirm this.

As for viruses with high oncogenic risk, they do not manifest themselves and it is difficult to visually determine their presence in the body - an analysis is required for cytology, colposcopy of the cervix and HPV tests. Due to the asymptomatic course of the disease, strains with high oncogenic risk are particularly dangerous for women who do not undergo an annual PAP test (cytological analysis) by a gynecologist. The course of the disease is asymptomatic and at this time HPV is embedded in the cell and changes its structure, making it malignant. Malignant cells help identify a cytological analysis taken at a routine examination by a gynecologist every six months or annually. By the way, it's better not to miss, especially those with HPV.

If I have HPV, do I have cancer?

Don't ride your horses. As we said earlier, more than 80% of women on the planet have time to get HPV in their lifetime. Obviously, not everyone developed cervical cancer. It takes a long time for a pre-cancerous condition to develop from HPV infection. Attend annual scheduled exams with a gynecologist, get tested on time, and then the doctor diagnoses the presence of HPV and the first malignant changes in the cells long before the cancer develops.

Cytological analysis does not necessarily indicate the presence of malignant cells, even if you have found one or more of the 14 highly oncogenic types of the virus. At a young age with good immunity, cells with signs of malignancy are rarely found in the PAP test, so exhale, calm down, and read on.

Is HPV treated?

"If HPV is very dangerous, it must be treated urgently! " - Maybe this thought crossed your mind. Unfortunately, so far medicine has not found any means or remedies to help get rid of HPV forever. However, with immunomodulatory therapy and a proper lifestyle, you can achieve long-term remission and stop the devastating effect of the virus.

HPV treatment should be comprehensive. In the presence of genital warts and genital warts, it will need to be removed by one of the following methods: surgery, radio wave knife, laser or cryodestruction.

Can't remove warts?

No, you can't: the virus becomes concentrated and lives in these neoplasms, which means subsequent treatment will be less effective. In addition, it is unlikely that you want to part with them: the appearance of unpleasant sensations during sex, not to mention that such a cosmetic defect will adversely affect your self-esteem, self-esteem and, accordingly, your relationship with your partner.

Can they switch on their own?

However, this scenario is quite possible: strengthening the immune system, a healthy lifestyle, giving up bad habits and daily use of local antiviral agents (ointments or sprays) - a complex of these measures can destroy warts.

However, there is good news: HPV may not be cured, but in most cases, it loses an unequal battle against strong immunity, eliminating it on its own. This happens within two years from the time of infection, and in a young, vigorous organism the process naturally proceeds faster.

Is it possible to get reinfected from a sexual partner?

How! And condylomas that you removed before may also reappear. If your man is infected and has external signs of the virus - genital warts - he's likely to be re-infected. All sexual infections, without exception, should be treated by both partners: use barrier protection methods, remove neoplasms caused by HPV, maintain strong immunity and administer appropriate treatment.

If you found

HPV, don't hide it from your partner. It may not need complex therapy, but immunomodulating therapy will only benefit.

If you suspect HPV, we recommend that you do not panic and contact a specialist - obstetrician-gynecologist.