Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

By: Summer Sparks

Causative Agent

A sexually transmitted agent, most likely a virus.

What is HPV?

  • common virus
  • affects both males and females
  • 100+ types
  • can cause warts on hands and feet
  • most are harmless and go away on their own
  • 40 types that affect genitalia
  • 80% of males and females who have had any kind of sexual intercourse will be infected with at least one type of genital HPV
  • ‘high risk’ genital HPV types can lead to cancer of the cervix, vagina, penis, anus, mouth and throat.

Diagnosis

  • HPV types associated with warts are not generally the types associated with cancer.
  • Women infected with the type that can cause cancer be told their Pap test results are abnormal.
  • Pap tests are the main way doctors find cervical cancer or precancerous changes in the cervix

Transmission

  • skin-to-skin contact with the penis, scrotum, vagina, vulva, or anus of an infected person
  • kissing or touching a partner’s genitals with the mouth
  • not transmitted by blood
  • condoms DO NOT always work to prevent HPV!!!

Frequency

Most commonly transmitted STD.

Disease Course

  • The natural course taken by an HPV infection varies.
  • Genital warts can develop quickly inside or outside the vagina, usually within three months of contact.
  • Within one year of initial HPV infection, low-grade cervical dysplasia may develop
  • In some women the HPV infection persists and can lead to the beginning stages of cancer. This transformation is generally slow and can take anywhere from five years to a lifetime.

Disease Complications

  • Oral and upper respiratory lesions. Lesions may form on the tongue, tonsils, soft palate, or within the larynx and nose.
  • Cancer. Cervical cancer is usually caused by two specific varieties of HPV. These two strains may also contribute to cancers of the genitals, anus, mouth and upper respiratory tract.

Target Audience

HPV is usually acquired at a young age (typically measured as the age of ’first intercourse’). 12-20 yrs of age