Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

The importance of getting vaccinated.

What is it?

HPV is a virus that attacks and infects the epithelial layer of the exterior sex organs as well as the mouth and throat. This also means it is transmitted by direct horizontal transmission. HPV can live in the mucosa layers of the mouth, throat, and sex organs and its transmitted direct contact.

There are over 100 types of HPV with roughly 20 million new cases per year. However, there are only 40 types of HPV that cause genital warts (in men and women) and cervical cancer (in women).

http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/whatishpv.html

Signs and Symptoms

HPV is asymptomatic meaning it doesn't have any symptoms. HPV leads to genital warts and cancers, specifically cervical cancer. HPV is the cause of almost all cervical cancers today. Warts associated with HPV can occur in the mouth (right image) and throat as well.

http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/signs-symptoms.html

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Treatment

HPV itself cannot be treated after it has been contracted. Vaccines are available in a 3-dose treatment plan which is recommended to adolescents. Many health care providers suggest Gardasil or Cervarix as a vaccine for HPV. Gardasil has been tested 29,000 men and women and Cervarix has been tested on 30,000 women specifically. Both were deemed safe.

Treatment for the illnesses caused by the virus are available as well, such as cancer treatments. This treatment can prevent genital warts and cancer from developing which will bring down illness and mortality rates in the United States and globally.

http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccinesafety.html

Complications

The vaccine for HPV doesn't have any serious side effects or risks. Reports have been made that individuals feel dizzy, nausea, headache, and sometimes faint but the CDC states that the pros of the vaccine "far outweigh" the cons.

The complications of HPV is genital warts and cervical cancer in women that can lead to possible death.

http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/cancer.html

http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/screening.html

So, Should You Get Vaccinated?

Yes! 3 small doses of the vaccine can prevent cancer and the spread of genital warts. In turn, the incidence rate of HPV as well as the illnesses it causes will decrease.