The HPV Virus

By Mallory Sadd, 2nd period

What is HPV?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a viral infection passed through people by skin-to-skin contact. There are many varieties of HPV but the important varieties affect the genitals, mouth, or throat, that are passed through sexual contact.

Symptoms

Usually, people with HPV don't develop any symptoms of the virus (asymptomatic) but they can still affect others through sexual contact. Symptoms include warts on the genitals or surrounding skin. Cervical cancer can develop but usually does not have symptoms until it is advanced and hard to treat.

Causes

Having HPV occurs when the virus enters your body through a cut, abrasion, or small tear in your skin. It is primarily transferred by skin-to-skin contact. Most of the time, HPV is spread through sexual activity and genital contact. In rare cases, women can pass HPV down to her child during delivery, since it is transferred by skin-to-skin contact.

Immune Cells Involved in the Immune Response

Overall, HPV effectively evades the innate immune response delaying the activation of adaptive immunity. B cells make antibodies specific to antigens and then the T cells sign and secrete an enzyme to breakdown the virus. HPV involves all of the immune cells in the immune system.

How It Replicates

The HPV virus replicates through the lysogenic cycle.

- The HPV virus attaches to the host cell and injects its DNA

- The viral DNA integrates itself into the host cell

- The host cell reproduces normally, copying the viral DNA and transmitting it into the daughter cells

- Cell divisions produce many infected cells

- When triggered, the viral DNA exits the host cell and initiates the lytic cycle

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Treatment

There is no cure for the HPV virus, the virus may go away on its own but then might reappear in other places. However, the symptoms of the virus can be treated. Warts can be treated with medications such as salicylic acid, imiquimod, podofilox, and trichloroacetic acid, but they may also go away on their own. Severe warts may require surgery and advance treatment. Getting the vaccine will prevent these symptoms.

Prevention

You can prevent getting this virus by-

  • Staying abstinent

  • Get the HPV vaccine- HPV vaccines stimulate the body to produce antibodies that, in future encounters with HPV, bind to the virus and prevent it from infecting other cells. Getting the HPV vaccine will prevent other cells from getting the virus. It is best to get the virus before being sexually active to fully prevent HPV.

  • Limit your number of sexual partners

  • Adopt a healthy diet to boost your immune system for fighting off the infection

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