Human Papillomavirus Infection and causes: Should You Be Concerned About It?

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Recently, while browsing through the net, I learned about something new, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and HPV causes. To be honest, I was quite unaware about this virus, but after reading the whole site I was surprised at the lack of awareness in India.According to WebMD1 , 80% of men and women get infected with HPV at some point once in their lifetime. Also, cancers 2 , like cervical cancer, are caused by HPV, and this is TOO REAL.

In rare cases, touching a wart or a surface that an infected person has come into contact with, increases the spread of infection. But the positive thing I had to mention here is that even though there are many HPV causes, it is preventable with the right steps, vaccination being one of them. More than 100 countries have already included HPV vaccination in their national immunization program3. The number depicts the
importance of HPV and vaccination, and if you are someone who’s still not aware of what HPV causes are , do continue reading:

What you need to know about Human Papillomavirus!

It’s a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that quite often spreads through intimate skin-to-skin contact 4 . And as of today, there are over 100 Human Papillomavirus types.
What’s more important to highlight is that a few HPV infection types just cause warts,while on the other hand, the rest can cause different types of cancer.India accounts for 20% of global burden of Cervical cancer. Every 5 min one person dies due to HPV cancers & diseases. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer of women in India.

What are HPV causes and how is it transmitted

Since HPV is a sexually transmitted viral infection, contracting it is very common. In fact,at some point in one’s lifetime, any sexually active person can get infected with HPV.This infection can happen just within a few months or a few years after becoming sexually active. Around half of these infections are usually harmless and go away by themselves, but the other half can lead to genital warts or cervical cancer.

The symptoms are often developed a year after having sex with the infected person. As a result, many individuals tend to fail at tracing where they first got infected. It even spreads when an infected person shows no signs or symptoms 5. While infections are more likely in people who have had many sex partners, you could be sexually involved with just one person, use condoms and still get HPV! Incidence of HPV was 28% in
women with first sexual partner and increased to almost 50% in 3 years.

The weaker an individual’s immune system is, the higher are their chances to contract HPV 6.

Does HPV cause a health problem?

Many individuals infected with Human Papillomavirus might never know that they were infected. The body’s immune system fights off the virus as much as it can. If symptoms do develop, the infected person might show it off in two months or three. However, the signs and symptoms of HPV depend on the type of HPV a person might get infected with. HPV is of two types based on their risk to the person, ‘non-oncogenic’ and ‘oncogenic’. Normally, wart-causing ‘non-oncogenic’ are not cancerous while
‘oncogenic’ 7 are cancerous.

Though the infection usually clears on its own, some low risk HPV types cause genital warts. Genital warts are small cauliflower-like bumps that appear mostly on the vulva,near the anus, or on the penis. These warts vary in appearance and for some, it can be painful and might get itchy. you need to check and get diagnosed by a healthcare provider.

How an HPV Infection Can Lead to Cancer

If HPV doesn’t clear on its own, it may lead to cervical cancer. Oncogenic HPV can also cause cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. The signs and symptoms of most advanced cervical cancer include vaginal bleeding after intercourse, pelvic pain during intercourse, and bloody, watery vaginal discharge. HPV can also cause oropharyngeal cancer.

Is HPV treatable?

As far as treating the HPV virus is concerned, there’s no such proper medical treatment available yet. There are so many HPV causes and precautions are what a person has to rely upon to not get infected. There’s a preventive vaccine available dedicatedly for HPV which has to be taken at an early age. This vaccine is given as a series of shots.
Moreover, these vaccines even protect against cervical cancer if detected at an early stage.

As far as the warts is concerned, it often goes away on its own. If anyone around you shows warts, make sure you ask them to visit a doctor as early as they can.

What is the best/most recommended age to take the HPV vaccine?

According to Centres for Disease control and prevention, the vaccine works best when given before the individual gets exposed to the virus 8. You can even consult your doctor and ask them what the appropriate age would be to take the HPV vaccine.

Is HPV Preventable?

Yes, Human Papillomavirus is preventable, given that individuals take much care of it.Being a mother, when I read and explored all this information about HPV on the internet and with my personal doctor, I am now assured that this virus can be avoided with right safety measures. The only thing to take care of is getting your kids vaccinated as early
as one can. Sticking to cleanliness and helping kids stay aware of such viruses is undoubtedly a parent’s duty they must follow, and next comes regular medical checkups! While it is avoided in school curriculum, talking about safe sexual practices with your children can help raise awareness about STIs like HPV.

I would recommend you talk to your doctor about HPV causes and the right age to take the HPV vaccine, as it is not just for preteens.

Lastly,

Remember that HPV is a very common and vaccine-preventable virus, you just have to take the right precautions. There is no need to stay ashamed or afraid while talking about HPV. There are already a plethora of myths surrounding HPV making buzz out there, you have to take the right step ahead.

Get your little one vaccinated, and build a great, healthy future from them, because now, it’s truly in YOUR HANDS!
You can also visit knowmorehpv.com for more information and consult the expert about HPV prevention.


Issued in public interest by MSD India
This information is for awareness only. Please consult your doctor for more information on HPV.

1 HPV: https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/hpv-genital-warts/hpv-virus-information-about-human-
papillomavirus#1

Last accessed July 15, 2022


2 HPV vaccines: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/infectious-agents/hpv-
vaccine-fact-sheet
,

Last accessed July 15, 2022


3 Major milestone reached: https://www.who.int/news/item/31-10-2019-major-milestone-reached-as-100-
countries-have-introduced-hpv-vaccine-into-national-schedule

Last accessed July 15, 2022


4 HPV vaccines: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/infectious-agents/hpv-
vaccine-fact-sheet
, Last accessed July 15, 2022
5 HPV fact sheet: https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm,

Last accessed July 15, 2022


6 National Cancer Institute, https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/infectious-
agents/hpv-and-cancer
,

Last accessed July 15, 2022


7 Basic information about HPV and cancer: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/basic_info/index.htm, Last
accessed July 15, 2022


8 HPV vaccine recommendations:
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/hpv/hcp/recommendations.html#:~:text=HPV%20vaccine%20works%2
0best%20when,getting%20a%20new%20HPV%20infection
.

Last accessed July 15, 2022


9 HPV: https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/hpv-genital-warts/hpv-virus-information-about-human-
papillomavirus
#1 Last accessed July 15, 2022

23 Replies to “Human Papillomavirus Infection and causes: Should You Be Concerned About It?

  1. I have heard of this term and its vaccine also. Here is it available for kids after 12 years of age. But not many parents know about it. And for adults, it is better to have information for themselves as well.

  2. Yes HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection but not many people know the details. it is great that now we have vaccine against it. thanks for sharing all details about it. indeed, a helpful post to raising awareness against HPV.

  3. Yes, Lots of people are not aware about the virus and in the era of information age we should take responsibility to spread this information to each and every individual in India. That ways we can make our life better and peaceful.

  4. It’s sad that there’s no treatment available for HPV even though it’s such a common virus and so many people get affected by it. But the positive thing is that at least it can be prevented with timely vaccination. Thanks for spreading awareness about HPV.

  5. Definitely, HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection but not many people know the details. It is great that now we have vaccine to protect from it.

  6. For the first time I have heard about HPV virus and its severe consequences. Thanks for such detailed information. It’s really good to know that there’s a vaccine to prevent and protect.

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