Human papillomavirus (HPV)

By: Max Vencill


Symptoms depend on the type of HPV. Some HPV types have symptoms including genital warts and cancers like cervical cancer. Warts may also be found on other areas of the body like hands and feet.
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HPV can occur when when the infection enters your body through a cut, abrasion or a small tear in skin. This virus is primarily transmitted through skin to skin contact. Genital HPV infections are caused by sexual intercourse.


There is no treatment for the virus itself, but there are treatments for the health problems it causes. Treatment focuses on removing the warts. Cervical cancer can also be caused by HPV and can be more treatable if diagnosed early. Women go get routine Pap tests can identify the problem before the cancer develops.


There is only one way to 100% protect yourself from HPV which is complete abstinence. There are also FDA approved vaccines (Cervarix and Gardasil). These can protect women against types of HPV that cause most cervical cancer. Gardasil can also protect men against genital warts. The HPV vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV. Another way to reduce your risk is to limit your number of sexual partners. HPV is transmitted through skin to skin contact.

Immune Response

During the early stages of HPV the innate immune system creates a pro inflammatory microenvironment (The immediate small scale environment of an organism or a part of an organism, especially as a distinct part of a larger environment).


HPV viruses replicate in mucus membrane and skin cells. Due to the different strains of HPV, it isn't easy to determine if HPV replicates once per S-phase or at random intervals in the cell’s development. It is proposed HPV copies its DNA strain inside the host up to 400 times. Then, the host cell divides to create two daughter cells. This is a lysogenic process.

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