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HPV stands for human papillomavirus. It's an infection that can be easily spread from one person to the next, including via sexual contact. Men and women are able to get human papillomavirus, and it can spread as the result of vaginal, anal and oral sex. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, approximately three of every four people develop a genital HPV infection at some point. An HPV infection can cause genital warts, anal warts and, in women, cervical dysplasia--a condition that leads to an elevated risk of developing cervical cancer. Although HPV can be detected in males, there is no FDA-approved test to diagnose an HPV infection in men.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
- HPV stands for human papillomavirus.
- Men and women are able to get human papillomavirus, and it can spread as the result of vaginal, anal and oral sex.
Molloscum Contagiosum Symptoms
Although symptoms of an HPV infection--including genital warts--may disappear over time, neither men nor women are able to completely rid their bodies of human papillomavirus. This is because the virus is able to lie "dormant" within the body's cells. When the virus is lying dormant, it's essentially hiding from the body's immune system. When the virus is dormant, it can't be detected and eliminated by the body. Consequently, although the immune system can fend off an "active" infection (when the virus is actively dividing), the virus can survive in the body for years via dormancy. As a result, even when men aren't showing symptoms of an HPV infection, the virus may remain within the body.
- Although symptoms of an HPV infection--including genital warts--may disappear over time, neither men nor women are able to completely rid their bodies of human papillomavirus.
- Consequently, although the immune system can fend off an "active" infection (when the virus is actively dividing), the virus can survive in the body for years via dormancy.
In general, the only HPV treatments are for symptoms of an infection 1. This can include various treatments for getting rid of genital or anal warts (which include creams, surgery, and killing the warts by freezing them). Otherwise, there's also a vaccine for HPV that is commercially available.
Molloscum Contagiosum Symptoms
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- National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease: HPV
- Medline: HPV
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. World Health Organization. 24 January 2019
- Yanofsky VR, Patel RV, Goldenberg G. Genital warts: a comprehensive review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012;5(6):25–36. PMID: 22768354
- Sabeena S, Bhat PV, Kamath V, et al. Community-Based Prevalence of Genital Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Infection: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2017;18(1):145–154. Published 2017 Jan 1. doi:10.22034/APJCP.2017.18.1.145
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HPV & Men Fact Sheet. Updated Dec. 28, 2016.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. STD Facts: HPV. Updated Aug. 20, 2019.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. February 22, 2019
- Yang J, Pu YG, Zeng ZM, Yu ZJ, Huang N, Deng QW. Interferon for the treatment of genital warts: a systematic review. BMC Infect Dis. 2009;9:156. Published 2009 Sep 21. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-156
- Genital HPV Infection - Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 20, 2019
- Cervical Cancer Overview. National Cervical Cancer Coalition. 2019
Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.