Why do you need to make a HPV test or what is Human papilomavirus?
by Dr. Lusine Kazaryan
Human papillomavirus is common virus affecting both males and females that is transmitted from person to person through physical contact. Up to 80% of people (male and females) will be infected with at least one type of genial HPV at some time. Anyone who has any kind of sexual activity involving genial contact is susceptible to having genial HPV.
In most cases, an HPV infection causes no symptoms, and has no lasting effects. However, HPV infection can lead also to genital warts, cervical precancer, and sometimes to cervical cancer.
Types of HPV
More than 100 subtypes of HPV have been discovered. Over forty of these subtypes can affect the genial area and are divided into “high-risk” and “Low-risk” strains.
Low-risk HPV subtypes:
- May cause genial warts. Two common low-risk subtypes (6 and 11) cause 90% of all genial warts.
- Are less likely to cause cervical cancer than high-risk subtypes
High-risk HPV subtypes:
- Are more often associated with precancerous tissue changes of the cervix that may lead to cervical cancer, it left untreated over many years. About 70 percent of cervical pre-cancer and cancer are caused by HPV subtypes 16 and 18.
- HPV is the main cause of invasive cervical cancer and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia with most people who contact HPV experience no symptoms
- Less than 100 types have been described to date; only 50 have been isolated from the anogenital mucosa.
- Some types of HPV do cause symptoms. Depending on the subtype, symptoms may include:
- Genital warts
- Precancerous tissue changes of the cervix, also known as cervical dysplasia, or CIN (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia). Such changes can lead to cervical cancer in woman if not treated. CIN is 100 percent curable with treatment.