What is human papilloma virus?

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What is human papilloma virus? in directory a to z of environment health

The virus of the human papillomavirus, papillomavirus, or HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, so it is considered within the Group of sexually transmitted diseases.

Infection with HPV is the most common of all diseases STDs, and can pursue with a subclinical box and therefore without symptoms, making the patient not aware unless alterations in Pap smear or colposcopy.

What causes it?

Infection can be caused by one of the more than one hundred strains (types) of HPV that exist. HPV is so widespread that only people who have not had sexual intercourse have not been exposed to the.

The disease caused by the HPV is incurable infection, although it is possible the infection spontaneously disappear in the first six months avoiding that chronic, phenomenon that occurs in almost all processes.

In almost all cases the infection is subclinical and of short duration. Condoms do not prevent altogether the transmission of HPV because it can be spread during sex games and other activities other than intercourse. However, the risk is reduced with condoms. Products that are used during menstruation can also carry the virus. The insertion of tampons can move the virus from the lips to the vagina. Feminine towels can retain and transmit the virus, and moisture and abrasion to facilitate any mode of transmission.

Anal intercourse is a frequent transmission because the anal mucosa is fragile and highly susceptible to HPV infection.


A large number of HPV infections is presented in subclinical manner, i.e. does not have signs or symptoms. When the infection is subclinical, the most characteristic symptom is the appearance of Condyloma acumiados minor or serious.(Condyloma: it is a chronic extrusion and are known as genital warts). These warts vary in appearance between man and woman. Women are soft gray or pink, stalked and they are usually found in clusters. The most commonly affected areas are the vulva, vaginal wall and perineum. In humans they are soft and when they occur in the penis usually smooth and papular. While those of the perineum resemble a cauliflower. Often, first appear in the foreskin (tissue that covers the penis) and the Glans, and then in the scrotum (tissue that surrounds the testes) and the perianal region (in this latter region is common in gay).

There are different risk factors for infection, among these we find that it predisposes the Hispanic origin, the black race, high consumption of alcohol (possible factor of dangerous conduct), high frequency of sexual intercourse, number of sexual partners and anal sex.

Likewise the number of infections by HPV and its duration are a risk factor for the subsequent development of cancer.


Diagnosis is established with studies in laboratory and Cabinet, and between other studies prompted Pap smear with colposcopy, exfoliative cytology of the penis, biopsy if necessary, etc. With the above you can issue a correct diagnosis and recommend the most appropriate treatment.

But you have to clarify that it is not necessary to present the lesions, exams are recommended to persons that have the risk factors mentioned above

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