Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Human Papillomavirus is a viral sexually transmitted disease. A very common virus, HPV may be contracted by as many as 3 out of 4 sexually active people throughout their lifetime.

Causes

HPV can be passed through any kind of sexual contact—sexual intercourse is not a requirement. HPV is so common because it is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. The virus then attacks healthy cells.

Symptoms

  • Growths on the genitals known as genital warts
  • Growths may appear inside or outside of the vagina and surrounding areas, including the vulva and cervix
  • Warts on the penis or nearby skin

Complications

As with any condition, there are complications associated with HPV. If HPV is present on the cervix, it can often infect the cells of the tissue that covers the cervix, leading to precancer and eventually cervical cancer.

To prevent cervical cancer, it is critical to get regular Pap tests before the development of cancer. And while there are vaccines to help prevent against HPV, the best course of action to prevent it would be the following:

  • use a condom during intercourse
  • limit sexual partners
  • know your partner’s sexual history
  • avoid open sores on the genitals

If you feel you are experiencing symptoms of HPV, please consult your doctor. To read more about this condition online, please visit The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.