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HPV: All You Need To Know About This STI

Throat Cancer caused by HPV
Human Papillomavirus type 16 on surrealistic background (HPV). A model is built using data of viral macromolecular structure from Protein Data Bank (PDB 3J6R). Elements of this image furnished by NASA
Human Papillomavirus type 16 on surrealistic background (HPV). A model is built using data of viral macromolecular structure from Protein Data Bank (PDB 3J6R). Elements of this image furnished by NASA

Meaning of HPV

HPV, the abbreviated form of Human Papillomavirus is a common sexually transmitted infection which is quite harmless but sometimes can lead to cancer or genital warts.

There are more than 100 types of HPV and some of them cause warts while some cause different types of cancer like cancer of the vagina, penis, vulva, back of the throat (oropharyngeal).

HPV can be transmitted through skin-to-skin sexual intercourse or other forms of skin-to-skin contact of the genitals.

What does HPV look like
What does HPV look like

CAUSES OF HPV

  1. HPV can infect anyone who is sexually active and has a large number of intimate partners. Although most HPV infections resolve themselves, sometimes, they can remain dormant and later infect a new or existing sexual partner.
  2. Having sex with someone who has had several intimate partners
  3. Weak immune system.
  4. Personal contact with warts or surfaces where HPV exposure has occurred

Symptoms/Signs of HPV

Most people with HPV don’t have any symptoms¬† but sometimes HPV can cause genital warts and some types of HPV can cause cancer and when it becomes cancer there might be some symptoms;

Throat Cancer caused by HPV
Throat Cancer caused by HPV

Throat cancer – There could be symptoms like sore throat, ear pain, constant coughing, a lump in the neck and so on.

Vulvar cancer – symptoms like itching, changes in colour and thickness of your vulva.

Anal cancer with symptoms like anal bleeding, itching and so many more.

People infected do not show symptoms until it has caused serious health problems that is why regular check-up is important.

It is very important for one to be very careful with the sex life to avoid contacting disease like HPV, below are the medical treatments for this infection.

TREATMENT OF HPV

There’s no cure for the virus and warts may go away on their own. Treatment focuses on removing the wart. A vaccine that prevents the HPV strains most likely to cause genital wart and cervical cancer is recommended for boys and girls.

When treatment is needed, the goal is to relieve symptoms by removing any visible warts and abnormal cells in the cervix. treatments might include:

Cryosurgery: Freezing warts off with liquid nitrogen.

Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP): Using a special wire loop to remove the abnormal cells.

Electrocautery: Burning warts off with an electrical current.

Prescription cream: Applying medication cream directly to the warts

In some cases, no treatment is needed. However, your doctor will closely watch any cell changes during your regular appointments.

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