HPV- A PRECARIOUS VIRUS TO BE KNOWN
Dr Kanika Chopra Assistant Professor, Gripmer ASSOCIATE CONSULTANT
Gynae Endoscopy, Obstetrics And Gynaecology, Sri Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi
Viruses are the most notorious organisms known to mankind, that enters the living cells of the host that is the cells getting infected by the virus and then multiply. Various defined routes are known via which these organisms
gain entry into one’s body and infect specific cell type like cold viruses affecting our breathing system as we all know.
HPV or HUMAN PAPPILOMA VIRUS exist in more than 150 types and are as common as a cold virus. These viruses’ types are further divided into high-risk types and low-risk types depending on the intensity of the disease they cause. In a human body, the areas affected by this notorious virus are the mouth, throat, cervix i.e. mouth of the uterus, vagina i.e. birth canal,
vulva, the part outside the birth canal, anus and penis. So, in a nutshell, both the sex and any age are predisposed to develop a disease of varying severity by the virus.
Mucosal HPV types also known as genital or anogenital types are the ones I would like to highlight in my article here. These viruses are spread by direct skin to skin contact during vaginal, oral or anal sexual activity. Having multiple sexual partners and having sex with a partner indulged in a sexual relationship with multiple sexual partners, makes one susceptible of
acquiring the virus more so.
Unlike many other viruses, infection with HPV viruses is usually without any symptoms in the majority population. Usually, the body’s immune response clears off the infection in a span of almost two years. But, in those it does not, the infectious changes of cells, especially with high-risk HPV TYPES like HPV 16,18 turn into cancer. Low-risk HPV TYPES cause genital warts which look like cauliflower like lesions over genital areas and this over time remain same, increase or decrease in size.
There is no cure for HPV infection per se, but genital warts, precancerous lesions and cancers caused by the virus can be treated.
Prevention is better than cure and that very well applies here as well. Safe intercourse and proper sexual education are the most important step which can prevent oneself from the virus. Proper use of male condom surely to some extent protects against HPV infection. The female condom has not been studied to protect against the VIRUS. Next in line is HPV vaccine which
can be given to young girls as well as boys at the recommended age and one can consult a gynaecologist or paediatrician for it.
Next in line is early detection. PAP smear testing with HPV TESTING IS AN OPTION that can be done as a screening test in females after 30 years of age five-yearly. As per the result of both the tests further treatment course can be planned. There are per se no tests available for the affection of other body organs and to test males.
So, after reading this article, you should be aware of this virus and how to protect yourself and your loved ones.