HPV infection is certainly a cause for concern

May 24th, 2011 by Team Healthizen
Hpv The Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV in short, is a small non-enveloped virus that belongs to the Papovavirus family. There are more than 50 varieties of this virus that are capable of giving rise to diseases. This virus can be transmitted very easily by contact between skin surfaces or mucous membranes. Hence, all forms of sexual activity such as vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse can greatly increase the chances of getting infected with the virus.

What is scary is that this infection cannot be prevented from spreading by the use of a condom. The only way of staying disease-free is by avoiding close contact with any person who is already infected. Warts are the commonest manifestations of the human papilloma virus. These warts can develop almost anywhere, although they are more often found to develop over the hands or legs, genitals, larynx, and in the anal region.

While warts are not very dangerous by themselves, they are known to undergo cellular changes that can predispose cancer, especially of the anus or the neck of the womb. That is precisely why one cannot afford to take HPV infection very lightly. Once diagnosed with this infection, it is always advisable to get investigated at regular intervals to rule out any malignant processes that could have started off somewhere within the body.

While a Papanicolaou (PAP) smear is an invaluable tool for screening cervical erosions (abnormal changes in the neck of the uterus), tests like the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay) and PCR (polymerase chain reaction) are extremely useful in detecting the infection as well as in judging its severity. The greater the viral load, the higher the chances of developing complications.

The warts caused by this virus are usually got rid of by using liquid nitrogen, surgically excising them, or electro-cauterizing them. Chemical substances like trichloroacetic acid, alpha-interferon, and podophyllin are also used in the treatment of warts. Most warts also simply go away on their own with a year or two; however, recurrences are very common because the viral DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) tends to remain within the normal tissue in the vicinity of the wart.

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