HPV virus or human papillomavirus is usually a harmless virus that can go away by itself within two years. However, there are some forms of the HPV virus that last longer and can lead to serious HPV infections. In fact HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection resulting in genital warts and in certain cases may lead to cancer like cervical cancer, vaginal cancer and penis or anal cancer.
The HPV virus is a group of more than 150 related viruses, of which 40 types are transmitted through sexual contact. While some forms of the HPV virus cause genital warts, some other types of HPV virus can also cause cervical cancer and other forms of cancer.
There is no treatment for HPV virus itself but, there is HPV vaccination that is highly recommended in preventing the spread of HPV infection.
HPV symptoms are not common; as some individuals can have no HPV symptoms yet can affect others through sexual contact. There are basically no HPV symptoms other than the appearance of warts in the genital area and surrounding areas and some types of cancer.
The HPV infection is usually diagnosed by looking at the warts but, in cases there are no symptoms of HPV then the individual is required to undergo one of the following test;
There is no HPV test for men and screening for anal cancer is not often recommended to men.
HPV infection primarily enters the body through a cut abrasion or tears in the skin and is transferred mainly through skin to skin contact. The genital HPV infections are generally caused by sexual intercourse but are not entirely necessary for the spread of HPV, as the warts are pretty contagious and can spread through skin contact of any type.
In some rare cases, pregnant women having genital warts can pass of the HPV infection to their new born by vaginal delivery.
There is no cure for HPV virus and the main aim of HPV treatment is containing and treating the symptoms of the HPV infection. The HPV treatment course mainly includes medications to eliminate the warts, if that doesn’t help then surgical procedures are used to remove the warts.
HPV vaccination is a vaccine that provides protection against certain types of HPV virus. There are three types of HPV vaccines– Gardasil, Gardasil 9 and Cervatrix. All these available HPV vaccines provide protection against two, four or nine types of HPV but, all the available HPV vaccines provide protection against type 16 and 18 of HPV that are responsible for cervical cancer.
The HPV vaccines have been found to be 70% effective in preventing cervical cancer and nearly 80% of anal cancer. The Gardasil and Gardasil 9 are an effective HPV vaccine for men as they also help in preventing genital warts.
The HPV vaccine schedule is recommended to start at the age of 11 to 12 years for both boys and girls. The kids should get two doses of the HPV vaccine at 6 to 12 months apart. If the second dose of the HPV vaccination is given at less than 5 months apart then a third dose of the vaccine would be needed.
Many researchers believe that the vaccine should be administered at an even earlier age of 9 to 10 years, before the kids have any sexual contact, since once exposed to HPV the vaccine may not be effective and can also not work at all.
Teenagers and young adult between ages 15 to 26, who start their HPV vaccination late should be administered three doses of the HPV vaccine.
The HPV vaccine schedule for young women is through the age 26 and for men it is 21 years of age, if they have not been vaccinated at a young age.
The HPV vaccination is also recommended for gays, bisexuals and transgender through the age 26 if they too have not been vaccinated at a younger age.
The above HPV vaccine schedule is indicative of the best time to get started with the HPV vaccination program; however, there is no HPV vaccination age limit. So if you haven’t been vaccinated consult your doctor and get vaccinated.
HPV vaccine is relatively safe to use and whatever side effects associated with are only for a short term and subside within some time. The most common HPV vaccine side effects are as follows;
The HPV vaccine cost varies with the type of HPV vaccine being used, the dosage along with the doctor’s and other charges. Usually the HPV vaccine cost averages on the higher side but, the benefits of the vaccination far outweighs the HPV vaccine cost.