The human papilloma is a virus that normally affects the skin, and most of the moist membranes in the body such as the vagina, cervix, vulva, anus, mouth and throat. According to medical practitioners, there are over 100 types of HPV’s each with a unique number. Although people experience HPV’s at different times of their lives, the symptoms disappear naturally as they develop immunity as they grow older. However, doctors explain that persistent HPV’s may cause “dysplasia”, a condition which might cause cervical cancer as a result of changes in increased cells (Ashton, 2012). Furthermore, type 6 and 11 HPV viruses might cause warts and verrucas. Although, they are low risk viruses mostly affect the hands, feet, genitals area and anus.
HPV is acquired through contact of the skin with an infected person
Since the virus affects the throat and mouth, it can easily be passed through open kissing and oral sex, thus affecting another person. Furthermore, genital HPV can be passed through unprotected sex, increasing the number of people who can be infected. Since there are no clear symptoms of identifying an infected person, it is vital to attend regular cervical screening sessions to ensure early prevention (www.patient.co.uk).
Since there are over 100 types of HPV’s, doctors have argued that there is no single treatment that can entirely get rid of the virus. Furthermore, the body has an internal mechanism of clearing the body of the virus. However, it is essential to get treatment to prevent the visible signs of the HPV so as to get rid of the changes in cells in the cervical areas which might ultimately develop into cancer.
The use of condoms is considered as the primary way of preventing the risk of contaminating low risks HPV’s. However, the virus can be passed through the genitals, and areas around the skin such as the vulva and scrotum.
In the U.K, there are two HPV vaccines that are readily available and licensed namely; Cervarix and Gardasil. Cervarix is well known for treating for treating HPV16 and HPV18 since it reduces cases of cervical cancer among women. On the other hand, Gardasil is used to treat HPV6, 11, 18 and 16; thus it can protect against genital warts and cervical cancer. These vaccines have been found to prevent over 99% of the viral infections (www.patient.co.uk). Most importantly, it is advisable to attend regular checkups for cervical cancer so that they can be prevented at an early stage before the viruses develop into full blown cancers.
Although the vaccines provide effective treatment and protect against HPV’s, doctors have cautioned that they do not treat all types of viruses. Therefore, as a mitigating factor, the U.K, Scotland and Northern Ireland initiated an immunization program in 2008. It involves immunizing all girls aged between 12-13 years against contracting cervical cancer. Furthermore, girls are taken through an intensive training on how to protect themselves against infection with the viruses since they are the most vulnerable.
Genital warts are the most common viral sexual transmitted infections among the youth. In 2008, a Health Protection Report survey indicated that men and women aged 16-24 were most prone of genital warts (Ashton, 2012). The low risk virus HPV is mainly found around the penis, anus or the vagina. Since genital warts are caused by type 6 and 11 low risk virus, it can be easily prevented from spreading. Medical doctors have recommended cervical screening to detect pre-cancerous and other cervical cancers at their early stages.
- Ashton, A. (2012). HIV/AIDS and human papillomavirus: new insights for health care professionals. Manchester: Scholarly Editions.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) immunization. Retrieved December 1, 2013 from http://www.patient.co.uk/health/human-papillomavirus-hpv-immunisation#