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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    Although the preventive vaccines currently under study have been found to be generally safe when given to women who are already infected with HPV, it is important for women to know that the vaccines protect against infection, and provide maximum benefit, for a woman who is vaccinated before she is sexually active. This is because these vaccines do not treat infections. For example, one recent study found that Cervarix was not effective in helping women who are already infected to clear the infection. However, because very few young women have been infected with all HPV types that are included in the vaccines, it is possible that women may still get residual benefit from vaccination even if they have been infected with one or more of the types included in the vaccines. This possibility has not yet been formally studied.

    It is not feasible to prescreen all women to see who has been exposed to the HPV types in the vaccines. At present, there is no generally available test to tell whether an individual has been exposed to HPV. The currently approved HPV DNA test shows only whether a woman has a current HPV infection and identifies the HPV type. It does not provide information on past infections. The decision to vaccinate or not, based on likelihood of prior exposure to these HPV types, is being discussed by ACIP and other advisory groups.

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

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    A , Marriage & Family Therapy, answered

    Once you know you are going to have a sexual relationship with someone, but before you actually do. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that can be prevented and contained. It's important, therefore, for people who know they're infected to help stop it from spreading to others. The best way to do this is to be honest with potential sexual partners so that responsible decisions can be made about a mature, informed, and consensual sexual act.

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    A , Health Education, answered

    There are about 140 different types of HPV. The families are tissue specific. For example, HPV 2 and 4 cause warts on the hands and feet. HPV 7 causes hand warts that are most often seen in butchers. HPV 16, on the other hand, causes most of the HPV associated cancers. 

    If you have a wart on your hand, and you touch your genitals, you will not get a genital wart, as the HPV types that cause genital warts are mostly HPV 6 and 11, not the HPV 2 and 4 from hand or feet warts.

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    A answered
    HPV stands for human papillomavirus, and there are more than 100 types. The ones that concern doctors spread through sexual contact -- 15 of those cause nearly all cases of cervical cancer.

    The HPV vaccine protects against two of the most common cancer-causing strains and is routinely recommended for girls 11 and 12 and for older girls and women up to age 26 who did not receive it when they were younger. It can be given to girls as young as 9. Because the vaccine can also prevent genital warts and anal and throat and mouth cancers, it is recommended for 11- and 12-year old boys and for males up to age 21 if they did not receive the vaccine when they were younger. The goal is to vaccinate girls and boys before they become sexually active; if you're infected with a strain of HPV in the vaccine already, the vaccine can't get rid of the virus, though it can still protect against strains with which you are not infected.

    The HPV test looks for the presence of HPV in the cervix. Women should begin regular cervical cancer screenings at age 21. This includes all women, even those who had an HPV vaccine. In women younger than 30, the screening is done with a Pap test, in which cells are scraped from the cervix and examined under a microscope for any changes that could turn into cancer. The goal is to eliminate the cells early before they become cancerous, thus preventing the cancer. Thanks to the Pap test, the incidence of cervical cancer in this country has plummeted in the past few decades.

    Women who are 30 and older should be screened with an HPV test along with the Pap test. For women younger than 30, the HPV test is only recommended if their Pap results are inconclusive. If the Pap and the HPV test are both negative, you don't need to be rescreened for another five years.
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    A answered
    Booster shots of the HPV vaccine aren't needed, but many people don't realize that the vaccine is given in multiple doses over a six-month period. One study suggested that kids may miss out on the second and third doses because parents expect the pediatrician's office to call them back in for the shots. Often, the offices don't, so the vaccine can be forgotten. Make sure your child (or you) get all three needed shots, to ensure full protection against the virus. When the first dose is received, go ahead and make appointments or schedule reminders for the later shots.
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    A answered
    Although healthcare providers differ in what they offer as routine screenings, many do make the human papillomavirus (HPV) test available to women because it is now recommended by many major professional organizations. For example, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommend as an option that women who are 30 or older may have the HPV test along with a Pap test, rather than the Pap test alone.

    The HPV test looks for cancer-causing types of HPV, which cause nearly all cases of cervical cancer. Pap tests look for abnormal cell changes caused by HPV. Studies find that the combination of a Pap test and HPV test is the most effective way to find cervical disease and cancer, better than using a Pap alone. If the HPV test is positive (meaning you have HPV), it doesn't necessarily mean you will get cancer. Almost all women clear the virus with the help of their immune systems. It just means that your healthcare provider will want to monitor you more closely for any cell changes that may happen as a result of the HPV infection.

    More and more healthcare professionals are now offering the HPV test along with the Pap to women 30 and older. Women under 30 do not need to be tested for HPV unless their Pap tests are inconclusive or "borderline" for cell changes. This is because most young women will have an active infection at some point, but the infection will clear up on its own without problems.
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    A Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology), answered on behalf of

    All cases of cervical cancer are derived from HPV. Two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, have been developed to protect against HPV infection. The vaccine is administered in three doses over a six-month period.  Currently, the vaccine is approved for females ages 9-26. It has not however been approved for young males. The rationale for this is that if young girls are vaccinated against HPV, there will be a decrease in the active HPV transmission to males, and potentially a decrease in the incidence of HPV- related oropharyngeal carcinoma in men.

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    A , Health Education, answered
    Dr. Diane Harper - How are human papillomaviruses (HPV) infections detected?

    If not treated, some infections with human papillomavirus (HPV) can lead to cancer. In this video, HPV expert Dr. Diane Harper explains how an HPV test can determine a patient's cancer risk.

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    A , Health Education, answered

    There are not any well done studies that show that a vitamin can prevent HPV infection. Since HPV only infects skin cells and folate is necessary for skin cells to replicate, some have advocated for the use of folic acid. This is without too much harm, as folic acid/folate is a water soluble vitamin and what you do not need in your body, you will excrete.

    There is a compound called carrageenan. This has been found in studies to prevent HPV infection. But there is no available medical source of carrageenan yet.