Last Updated on July 29, 2021 by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT
How do you get HPV/How can you get it? HPV Causes:
There are more than 70 types of HPV (human papillomavirus) and about 30 of them can be transmitted through sexual contact.
Most people who have human papillomavirus do not develop symptoms or health problems from it. Some types of human papillomavirus cause warts to appear on or around the genitals and anal area. These genital warts are most commonly associated with two types of human papillomavirus, HPV-6 and HPV-11. Other HPV types can cause cancer of the cervix, and, less frequently, vaginal, vulvar, anal and throat cancer, as well as penile cancers.
The human papillomavirus types associated with warts, however, are not generally associated with cancer.
Human Papillomavirus is spread by skin-to-skin contact (most often genital-to-genital), not through an exchange of body fluids. In the case of HPV warts, even after the warts have been removed, it is possible for the virus to be shed from the area originally infected and without either partner being aware of transmission.
Human Papillomavirus can be contracted from one partner, remain dormant, and then later be unknowingly transmitted to another sexual partner.
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How to tell if you have HPV? HPV Symptoms:
Warts may appear within several weeks after sexual contact with a person who has the human papillomavirus, or they may take months or years to appear, or they may never appear. Genital warts can cause itching, irritation, and bleeding. Around the anus, where they are more likely to be discovered by touch rather than sight, warts can be mistaken for hemorrhoids.
Some human papillomavirus infections cause flat, abnormal growths in the genital area and on the cervix; however, human papillomavirus infections of the cervix usually do not cause any symptoms at all.
How to know if you have HPV? HPV Tests:
Genital warts can be diagnosed by visual inspection, and infrequently, a clinician may need to biopsy the area to determine if there is a wart present.
The most common way to find out if you have one of the cancer-associated types of human papillomavirus is through a pap test. For people with vulvas/vaginas who are age thirty and older, a pap test may be done in combination with a DNA test.
Relief spells (Rolaids?!) HPV Treatment:
The virus itself is not presently treatable or curable.
Genital warts may be removed by a healthcare provider. Healthcare providers use mild acids, freezing, burning with an electrical current, or lasers. There are prescription genital warts treatments that can be used at home and those treatments usually require repeated application from a few weeks to a few months.
In some cases, warts return, so one may need repeated treatment.
Most human papillomavirus infections are temporary and are, in time, cleared by the body’s immune system (although reactivation or reinfection would still be possible).
Since there isn’t yet a test or guaranteed way to know if a person has been able to shed the virus, it’s safest to assume that someone who has had HPV can transmit the virus to others again.
What’s going to happen to me?!!?! HPV Expectations:
Many sexually active people contract HPV. Most cases of human papillomavirus go away on their own.
Most people with penises who become infected with human papillomavirus never develop any symptoms or problems from the infection. However, they can pass it on to current and sometimes future sexual partners.
Even after you have been treated for genital warts, you may still infect others.
Things to be aware of… HPV Complications:
Some types of HPV have been found to cause cancer of the cervix and vulva. They are the main cause of cervical cancer.
The types of human papillomavirus that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types that can cause penile or anal cancer.
Genital warts may become numerous and quite large, requiring more extensive treatment and follow-up procedures.
- Detailed HPV Symptoms
- Human Papillomavirus – Resources, Info, and Personal Experiences
- How to Not Give an Eff about Having an STI
- Pictures of Genital Warts
- Genital Warts Brief
- Genital Warts In-Depth
- STI Interviews
- STD Hotlines
- Human Papillomavirus Vaccines
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