HPV Virus - The Simple Facts

Human papillomavirus or the HPV virus is known to affect the moist membranes, skin and other linings of the body, such as the lining of the mouth and throat, cervix and anus.

There are various types of HPV virus and each type has a different number. An additional fact about HPV virus is that it is very common on humans, and it occurs at some point of their lives. For most people, it shows no symptoms and disappears without ever being treated. It is much more common in young people, possibly because they are more sexually active and share a larger number of partners.

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Some types of the HPV virus are found in the lining of the mouth and throat and within the cells of the cervix that can cause some changes, these are known to be high risk HPVs. These changes in cells are also called 'dysplasia' and have an increased risk of becoming cancerous.

Other types of HPV can cause verrucas and warts. These types of HPV are sometimes called the 'wart virus' or 'genital wart virus' and are commonly found on the hands and feet, in the genital area and around the anus. But they can be on any part of the body. They are types of HPV virus that don't usually cause cell changes and may not develop into cancer. They are called low risk HPVs.

Genital HPV is usually spread through skin to skin contact during sex. You can have this type of HPV virus for years and not have any sign of it. So it is not that unusual to have a long term partner and then be told you have the virus after medical tests such as cervical screening.

But having HPV virus doesn't automatically indicate that you or your partner has been unfaithful. There are no symptoms to indicate how long you have had the virus. It could be weeks, months or years.

Some types of high risk HPV develop cervical cancer. They are called high risk types or strains. Almost all women with cervical cancer have at least one of these types of HPV virus in the cells of their cervix.

Keep in mind that most women with high risk HPV don't develop cervical cancer. Many studies stated that these factors affect whether you develop a cancer, such as smoking or how well your immune system is working. Women who smoke and have a high risk type of HPV infection are more prone to have cervical cancer.

You should have regular cervical screening; this will lift abnormal cervical cells before they lead to cancer. So even if you have HPV virus and can't refrain from smoking, you can still stop cervical cancer if you prefer to submit yourself for screening when you are invited.


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