By: Hannah Larsen


HPV infections occur when the virus enters your body. The virus usually enters through openings such as cuts, scrapes and other openings in your body. It is transferred through skin to skin contact. It is mostly spread through sexual intercourse. Although it's more rare, HPV can be given to a child if the mother has it.


HPV comes with many symptoms such as Genital warts which can be raised, flattened, pink, or flesh colored. There can be multiple warts or just one, and the warts can be small or large, and appear on genital areas. The type of warts include common warts, genital warts, and plantar warts. If you get cervical cancer because of HPV, the symptoms do not usually show until the cancer is more advanced. The symptoms of cervical cancer are, irregular bleeding between menstrual cycles, or bleeding after sexual intercourse, fatigue, loss of appetite, leg, back, or pelvic pain, a single swollen leg, and/of vaginal discomfort or discharge that has an odor.


There are a couple vaccines for HPV including Gardasil and Cervarix. Gardasil is safe for both women and men between the ages 9-25. Cervarix is for females only and can be used from ages 10-25. Although these vaccines can help, no vaccines are 100% effective and the only was to completely prevent HPV is to not participate in sexual intercourse. The vaccines do not permanently cure you, but can be effective for up to 5 years. The vaccines are usually given to kids 10 to 12 because they haven’t been exposed to the virus. Although the virus can cure itself alone, it can also lead to cervical, anal, or throat cancer if it is not treated.

Virus Replication

The HPV can only bind to epithelial or skin tissue. It is not able to bind to live cells, only epithelial cells, where it replicates. It infects the skin cells through micro-abrasions or other ways that the epithelial cell shows segments of the basement membrane. After the cell is infected, the virus uses proteins called E6/E7 that changes the cell so it favors viral genome replication, which allows the virus to replicate. HPV uses both the lysogenic and the lytic cycle. It can be asymptomatic.
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Immune Cells and their response

When you are infected with HPV, your body uses both innate and adaptive immunity to fight off the virus. The immune system blocks the infections with strong localized cell mediated immune responses. Innate defensive the body uses are the skin and mucous membranes, phagocytes, fever, antimicrobial proteins, inflammations, and NK cells. The adaptive responses the immune cells use are T-Cells and B-Cells. T-Cells warn the B-Cells of the virus, and then kill it.


Warts that are caused by HPV will usually go away over time, however there is no cure so the warts can come back. There are several wart removers such as salicylic acid, Imiquimod, Podofilox, and Tricholoracetic acid that can be used on warts caused by HPV. The warts can also be removed by freezing and other surgical removals.