Human Papilloma Virus

Human Papilloma Virus (hpv)

Human Papilloma Virus (hpv)

Human Papilloma Virus (hpv) is the virus responsible for causing genital warts, a sexually transmitted infection.

HPV can be transmitted through vaginal, oral and anal sex.

Rarely, hpv can be spread by indirect contact, for example, using a towel after someone who is infected.

Around half (50%) of people who have genital warts are unaware that they do, often because the site of infection is deep within the vagina, urethra or rectum and is self contained.

Some strains of the hpv virus are strongly associated with certain types of cancer.

Although incurable, there are various treatment and management options available such as self-administered solutions, freezing, surgery or laser removal; to help manage the condition.

Human Papilloma Virus Group

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a group of more than 70 viruses which cause infection in the human body.

HPV is the virus responsible for causing genital warts. Of this virus group of more than 70 types, human papilloma virus types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31 and 35 are sexually transmitted.

The strains of hpv most commonly involved in sexually transmitted infection are types 6 and 11.

HPV virus types 16, 18, 31, 33 and 35 are significantly associated with cervical and rectal cancer.

Of the small percentage of people who go on to develop cancer, progression can take anywhere between 5 and 30 years.

HPV Infection - Description / Symptoms

HPV (Genital warts) do not appear until several weeks after infection, typically between 1 - 4 months before they become visible, although it can take up to a year before any warts develop.

Generally painless unless irritated by contact, hpv can produce soft, flat and irregularly shaped genital warts or they may develop into cauliflower-shaped clusters with an unsightly cosmetic appearance.

Hpv warts may be variable in color: red, pink, off-white or gray.

Some hpv genital warts are almost undetectable, particularly if they are very flat and very slow growing.

Where Does HPV Develop?

Human papilloma virus - hpv (genital warts) can grow and develop on, or in, several areas of the body:

  • on the penis
  • inside the penis in the urethra
  • inside the vagina
  • on the lips of the vulva
  • on or around the anus
  • inside the rectum
  • on the scrotum
  • in the mouth
  • in the throat
  • on the tongue

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Treatment

Genital warts (hpv) are most effectively treated when they are small and few in number.

Topical solutions the patient may apply themselves include podofilox 0.5% solution, podophyllum and trichloroacetic acid 80 - 90%.

Other forms of treatment for hpv, depending on the location of the warts and under local anesthetic are:

  • cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen)
  • electrocautery (burning)
  • laser removal (burning)
  • surgical excision (surgery)

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) - Considerations and Complications

An infection of genital warts may have significant future implications for some individuals.

In particular, anyone who has experienced vaginal or anal hpv infection should be aware of the possible future risk of cancerous growth development.

This means regular Pap-smear testing for women who have developed either a vaginal or anal infection, and also for men who have acquired an anal hpv infection.

Some strains of the human papilloma virus (types 16, 18, 31, 33 and 35) are significantly associated with the development of cervical and rectal cancers.

Considerations Relating to HPV Infection

  • Women who are pregnant may pass on the hpv virus to their baby.
  • Women who are pregnant should not use podofilox or podophyllum.
  • Women who have, or have had, genital warts (hpv), should seek regular Pap-smear testing.
  • Men (or women) who have, or have had, anogenital warts (hpv) infection, should seek regular Pap-smear testing.

Complications of HPV Infection

  • Some strains of hpv, which causes genital warts, are significantly associated with certain forms of cancer.
  • A sudden, strong eruption of genital warts may indicate a compromised immune system. Anyone affected should consult their physician immediately.
  • Genital warts (hpv), regardless of where they erupt, may ulcerate or become infected.
  • Infection of certain areas such as the urethra, anus, rectum or the mouth and throat areas may cause extreme irritation and discomfort.




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