HPV+: Understanding Human Papillomavirus and its Associated Risks

Understanding HVP (Human Papillomavirus): Risks, Transmission, and Prevention

Human Papillomavirus or HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that affects both men and women. While most cases of HPV do not cause any symptoms, some strains of the virus can lead to serious health problems, including cancer.

Human PapillomaViruses (or HPV) are small DNA viruses that are very ubiquitous, i.e. present in a large number of body tissues. There are currently more than 200 varieties, 120 of which have been identified and sequenced.

If you have recently been diagnosed with HPV or are curious about the risks associated with the virus, it’s important to educate yourself and take proactive steps to protect your health. In this article, we will explore what HPV is, how it is transmitted, and the risks associated with HPV+.

What is HPV?

HPV is a virus that infects the skin and mucous membranes, and it is transmitted through sexual contact. There are over 100 strains of Human Papillomavirus, and while most do not cause any symptoms or health problems, some strains can lead to serious health issues.

How is Human Papillomavirus transmitted?

HPV is primarily spread through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. It can also be spread through skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity, even if there is no penetration or ejaculation. HPV can be transmitted even when an infected person does not have any visible symptoms or sores.

Where do you find HVP?

These viruses can be found in the skin but also in the mucous membranes, particularly the genitals. Depending on the viruses and the anatomical location where they are observed, the different HPVs can be responsible for benign or malignant lesions. Thus they can be the cause of warts (for those found on the skin), warts or papillomas which are benign tumors most often on the mucous membranes.

However, some HPVs, which are called high oncogenic risk, can cause cancer (this is especially the case for mucosal HPVs). Cancers that are thought to be HPV induced are cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, throat (tonsils) and anus. The share of involvement of these viruses ranges from almost 100% (cervix) to 30-40% (tonsils).

What are the risks associated with HPV+?

While most cases of Human Papillomavirus do not cause any health problems, some strains of the virus can lead to the development of cancer. This virus is responsible for nearly all cases of cervical cancer, as well as a significant number of cases of anal, penile, and throat cancers. Individuals with HPV+ are also at an increased risk of developing genital warts.

What can you do if you have HPV+?

If you have been diagnosed with HPV+, it is important to take proactive steps to protect your health. This may include regular screenings and check-ups to monitor for any signs of cancer, as well as practicing safe sex to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others.

The HPV vaccine is also highly effective at preventing the transmission of the virus and reducing the risk of developing HPV-associated cancers. The vaccine is recommended for both males and females, and it is most effective when administered before sexual activity begins.

Who is at risk for Human Papillomavirus?

Anyone who is sexually active can contract Human Papillomavirus, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation. However, certain behaviors can increase your risk of getting the virus, including having multiple sexual partners, starting sexual activity at a young age, and engaging in unprotected sex.

What are the symptoms of HPV?

Most people with Human Papillomavirus do not experience any symptoms, which is why the virus is often referred to as the “silent” infection. However, some strains of Human Papillomavirus can cause genital warts, which may appear as small bumps or clusters in the genital or anal area. Other strains of the virus can lead to abnormal cell changes, which can be detected through routine cervical cancer screenings.

How is Human Papillomavirus diagnosed?

HPV is usually diagnosed through a routine Pap test or Human Papillomavirus test. During a Pap test, your healthcare provider will collect cells from your cervix to look for any abnormalities or changes in cell growth.

An Human Papillomavirus test checks for the presence of HPV in the cells of the cervix. If you have HPV, your healthcare provider may recommend additional tests or screenings to monitor for any signs of cancer.

How is Human Papillomavirus treated?

There is no cure for Human Papillomavirus, but in most cases, the virus will go away on its own without causing any health problems.

If you have genital warts, your healthcare provider may recommend treatment options to remove them, including topical medications or procedures to freeze or remove the warts. If you have abnormal cell changes, your healthcare provider may recommend further testing or procedures to monitor or treat the changes.


The treatment aims to make the visible lesions disappear. Viral eradication is illusory. No treatment has significant advantages over the others. The method used depends on the location and type of lesion.

An important place must be given to self-applied treatments. Genital warts can be treated with creams, burned with nitrogen, laser, or local extraction. Often the treatment is carried out for aesthetic reasons, because these condyloma do not present a risk of cancer. For warts, the treatment will be local or surgical. Follow-up may or may not be necessary depending on the number of warts to be treated. The frequency of follow-ups is set by the dermatologist. Vegetating warts often recur.

A precancerous lesion requires additional examinations: colposcopy and biopsies if necessary. Follow-up is done by specialists.

Flat warts will be treated surgically. In the event of cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions, management is the responsibility of the gynecologist for lesions of the cervix, the ENT specialist for oropharyngeal location or the proctologist for anal location.


Vaccination is recommended for young girls and boys between 9 and 13 years old and in catch-up from 14 to 19 years old.

Men who have sex with men (MsH) can be vaccinated up to and including the age of 26,

It is indicated for the prevention of:

  • Precancerous lesions and cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina and anus,
  • Genital warts (condyloma acuminata) caused by specific types of HPV.
  • Vaccination does not replace screening for precancerous and cancerous lesions of the cervix by cervical smear, including in vaccinated women.

Vaccination is all the more effective when people have not yet been exposed to the risk of HPV infection.


In conclusion, Human Papillomavirus is a common sexually transmitted infection that can have serious health consequences. It is important to educate yourself about the risks associated with HPV+ and take proactive steps to protect your health. By practicing safe sex and getting vaccinated, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing HPV-associated health problems.

For more information on HPV and its associated risks, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/index.html.

Sources: PinterPandai, NHS UK, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

Information: Cleverly Smart is not a substitute for a doctor. Always consult a doctor to treat your health condition.

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