What is HPV (Human Papillomavirus)?
[Pronounced: human pap-uh-loh-muh-vahy-ruh-s]
Human papillomavirus is a group of viruses that cause warts (condylomata acuminata) to form on the feet, hands, and genitals – with the location of these dependant on the type of HPV infection contracted.
General infections occur when a person comes into contact with the warts present on an infected person's hands, feet, joints or face. The virus may then enter the body through a small cut or abrasion on the skin.
Sexually transmitted HPV strains are contracted through sexual intercourse including anal and oral sex. Sexual intercourse may lead to the development of genital warts and in instances where oral sex has been performed on an infected person, warts may be develop in the mouth and throat of the person peforming it.
There are more than 100 types of HPV1. Certain strains, namely HPV 16 and 18, can lead to the development of certain types of cancer including penile, cervical, anal and oropharangeal cancers (i.e. cancers of the mid throat including the soft palate, tongue and tonsils). Sixty types of the virus cause warts on the hands and feet but these do not form warts on the genitals, others cause the development of warts in the genital area.
1. Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. Who.int.https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/human-papillomavirus-(hpv)-and-cervical-cancer. Published 2019. Accessed August 14, 2019.
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