HPV

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    A Pediatrics, answered on behalf of

    Some strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) cause cancer and some strains cause genital warts. Hopefully, you will not have to experience either of these.

    The cancer causing strains of HPV are found in about 95% of cervical cancer and cause the death of too many women each year. In men, the risk of penile and anal cancers are greatly increased. Please practice safe sex and protect yourself.

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    The surest way to eliminate risk for genital human papillomaviruses (HPV) infection is to refrain from any genital contact with another individual.

    For those who choose to be sexually active, a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is the strategy most likely to prevent genital HPV infection. However, it is difficult to determine whether a partner who has been sexually active in the past is currently infected.

    It is not known how much protection condoms provide against HPV infection, because areas not covered by a condom can be infected by the virus. Although the effect of condoms in preventing HPV infection is unknown, condom use has been associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer, an HPV-associated disease.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved two vaccines to prevent HPV infections: Gardasil® and Cervarix®. Both vaccines are highly effective in preventing persistent infections with HPV types 16 and 18, two high-risk HPVs that cause most (70 percent) cervical cancers. Gardasil also prevents infection with HPV types 6 and 11, which cause virtually all (90 percent) genital warts. In addition, there is some initial evidence that Cervarix provides partial protection against a few other HPV types that can cause cancer, but further evaluation is required before the magnitude and impact of this effect is understood.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

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    A answered
    There is no cure for human papillomavirus (HPV), but there are treatments for genital warts. In addition, young women may be vaccinated against four common strains of HPV, as well as the types that cause most HPV-related cervical cancers. For women over 26, the best defense against HPV is to learn as much as possible about the disease to try to minimize your risk. Using condoms, limiting your number of sexual contacts and continuing to have regular Pap tests are important steps to reducing risk.

    Most people with HPV infections don't require treatment. Your body's immune system simply gets rid of the virus on its own. Only a small portion of women develop problems, ranging from warts to cervical cancer, that require treatment.
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    A , Health Education, answered

    As with most viruses, we do not have a cure for the virus. 

    The immune system can identify some of the HPV infections and clear them permanently. When the immune system cannot detect the HPV infection, though, then that infection can stay in your cells. The HPV waits for the cell signal to replicate and start to cause cervical skin cell changes. It can take decades for this signal to be received, so an infection that you got as a young person may not be detected until you are in your 40's or older. 

    We treat the cells that have been changed by the virus in two cases. In the case of genital warts, we can cut, burn, laser, freeze or chemically treat them to try to get the immune system to identify and clear the HPV. Often several treatments will be necessary.

    We also treat cells that have been changed by the virus into a precancerous lesion. We do this by freezing or by surgically excising it.

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    A , Health Education, answered
    There are two human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines: Gardasil and Cervarix.

    Gardasil protects against HPV 6 and 11, which cause genital warts, and protects against HPV 16 and 18, the two most common cancer-causing types. Gardasil is proven to work for at least five years, but only if all three doses are taken on time.

    Cervarix protects against high-risk HPV types—HPV 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 51, and 52—and has cross-protection shown to prevent 30% of genital warts. Cervarix is proven to work for at least 9.4 years, and still works if only one dose (for four years) or two doses are received.

    Both vaccines can only prevent infection with HPV. If you already have the infection, the vaccine will not remove the infection. Likewise, the vaccine will not make the infection progress to a precancer.

    If the vaccine wears off too soon, then you have no protection against new infections.

    Neither vaccine can protect against all the high-risk cancer-causing types of HPV. Therefore, you must continue to get Pap testing to make sure that you do not get cervical cancer. The HPV vaccines are an option, not a necessity, to help you maintain a healthy cervix. You must personally weigh the benefits and risks of vaccination for your health.
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    A , Health Education, answered
    All ages of females are infected with high-risk HPV. Most often infection happens because of penetrative sexual intercourse, but any kind of skin-to-skin contact may lead to infection. The skin-to-skin contact does not have to be related to sexual activity. While younger children are less likely to be infected with HPV, 10% to 15% of our young children already have cancer-causing HPV infections. There is no one age at which all females are free from HPV infection.
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    A , Health Education, answered
    Because HPV is so common in people under age 30, we do not test women under 30 years of age. Once you are 30 or older, the combination of HPV testing for high-risk cancer-causing types and Pap testing is likely to identify any precancerous changes that may be happening on your cervix. But the combination of high-risk HPV testing and Pap testing will also falsely identify a whole bunch of women who truly have nothing wrong with them. So, if one or more of these tests is positive, you still need to follow up with your doctor, but don’t be surprised if she tells you that you have an infection that is likely to go away on its own.
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    Genital HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States. About 20 million Americans ages 15 to 49 currently have HPV. And at least half of all sexually active men and women get genital HPV at some time in their lives.

    This answer is based on source information from National Women's Health Information Center.

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    Having many sexual partners is a risk factor for HPV infection. Although most HPV infections go away on their own without causing any type of abnormality, infection with high-risk HPV types increases the chance that mild abnormalities will develop and progress to more severe abnormalities or cervical cancer. However, even among the women who do develop abnormal cell changes with high-risk types of HPV, only a small percentage would develop cervical cancer if the abnormal cells were not removed. As a general rule, the more severe the abnormal cell change, the greater the risk of cancer. Studies suggest that whether a woman develops cervical cancer depends on a variety of factors acting together with high-risk HPVs. The factors that may increase the risk of cervical cancer in women with HPV infection include smoking and having many children.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute

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    A answered
    There are more than 100 strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), and at least 15 high-risk types have been linked to cancer of the cervix. While most women who develop cervical cancer have HPV, only a small proportion of women infected with HPV develop cervical cancer. Only persistent HPV infection leads to cervical cancer. Additionally, some low-risk types of HPV cause vaginal and vulvar warts; other HPV strains cause the warts that sometimes develop on the hands or feet.
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