HPV stands for human papillomavirus. The term HPV comprises an extensive list of more than 150 versions of the virus. Out of this number, approximately 40 of the viruses are potentially STD’s, known to cause some type of wart or lesion on the genitals. The virus spreads easily through intimate contact. Oral, anal and vaginal sex are common ways that the virus is passed from person to person. Many people have been exposed to the virus and show no outward symptoms. It is important to get checked for sexually transmitted diseases regularly to prevent the spread of HPV.
Many men and women who have the human papillomavirus have no symptoms whatsoever. In fact, the virus condition can lay dormant for several years before any symptoms appear. This can make it almost impossible to determine who passed the virus in the first place. If the condition is not treated, some strains can eventually lead to cervical cancer and other problems within the reproductive system. The typical plantar warts or those on the hands and extremities are also HPV, but not necessarily STD’s. The strains of HPV that cause warts are not usually the ones that cause cancer. Individuals, both male and female, who are diagnosed with the virus may be more susceptible to urinary tract and other types of pelvic infections.
There is no cure for the human papillomavirus but in most cases the immune system is able to control or eliminate the virus from the body with time. A vaccine is available, however, that can prevent a person from contracting the virus from others. Gynecologists will perform pap smears during pelvic exams to ensure there is no abnormal cell growth on the cervix. If this occurs and the person has been diagnosed with HPV, the doctor will closely monitor the cervix to ensure the abnormal cell growth does not turn into cervical cancer.
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