HPV - Human Papilloma Virus

In June 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend the first vaccine developed to prevent cervical cancer and other diseases in females caused by certain types of genital human papillomavirus (HPV). The vaccine, Gardasil, protects against four STD HPV types, which together cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts.

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The National Cancer Institute estimates 3,870 U.S. women will die from cervical cancer and more than 11,000 women will contract the disease this year alone. The Human papillomavirus (HPV), the most commonly contracted of sexually transmitted diseases, causes 99 percent of all cervical cancer cases. Estimates say 80 percent of sexually active women will contract one strain of HPV by the age of 50.




There has been dramatic progress in understanding the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the aetiology of cervical cancer (Bosch and de Sanjos, 2003). Human papillomavirus testing is likely to play a part in screening for cervical abnormalities (Cuzick et al, 2006). Prophylactic HPV vaccination has been shown to be highly effective at preventing infection (Villa et al, 2005), and is likely to be introduced in the United Kingdom in the near future.

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HPV types 6 and 11 cause most genital warts. Warts may appear within several weeks or months after sexual contact with a person who has HPV, or they may never appear. HPVs may also cause flat, abnormal growths in the genital area and on the cervix. Again, HPV infections often do not cause any symptoms.

HPV - the human papilloma virus - is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world. In the United States alone, an estimated 20 million people have genital HPV, and more than five million people contract it each year. Still, most people don't know the first thing about HPV - including how certain types of it relate to genital warts and other types of it relate to cervical cancer.



Merck says Gardasil is showing promise of protecting boys from genital, penile and rectal warts. Experts say among gay men, cancer of the anus is becoming almost as common as cervical cancer, and some clinics are starting to do regular HPV smears in men.

A cervical Pap smear is used to detect cellular abnormalities. This allows targeted surgical removal of condylomatous and/or potentially precancerous lesions prior to the development of invasive cervical cancer. Although the widespread use of Pap testing has reduced the incidence and lethality of cervical cancer in developed countries, the disease still kills several hundred thousand women per year worldwide. A recently approved HPV vaccine, Gardasil, that blocks initial infection with four of the most common sexually transmitted HPV types may lead to further decreases in the incidence of HPV-induced cancer.

Some facts to consider: HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women, among the top cancer-killers of women. If boys could be vaccinated, the spread of the virus would slow considerably, according to public health officials. According to the CDC, 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. Gardasil protects girls and women against four of the dozens of strains of human, or HPV, two of which are responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. The other two types account for 90 percent of genital warts, which affect both men and women.

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In many cases, HPV produces no symptoms. When they do occur, the most common symptom is the presence of warts in the genital area. Signs of infection can appear weeks, months, or even years after infection with the virus.

The findings are important because anal HPV infection is strongly linked with anal cancer, a rare but increasing disease that famously afflicted 1970s superstar Farrah Fawcett in 2006. The cause of Fawcett's cancer isn't known, according to media reports.

Some people mistakenly believe that genital warts lead to cancer. The truth is, while genital warts can be annoying, they do not cause cancer. However, a few other kinds of genital HPV infections may.

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). The virus infects the skin and mucous membranes. There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of men and women, including the skin of the penis, vulva (area outside the vagina), and anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, and rectum. You cannot see HPV. Most people who become infected with HPV do not even know they have it.

Genital HPV is the most common sexual transmitted infection in the United States. About 6.2 million Americans will get infected with genital HPV this year. According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), 11% of American women do not have regular cervical cancer screenings; women who do not have cervical cancer screenings on a regular basis dramatically increase their chances of developing cervical cancer. About 14,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer disease each year, and more than 3,900 women die in the United States each year from this disease.

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Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms or health problems. But sometimes, certain types of HPV can causegenital warts in men and women. Other HPV types can cause cervical cancer and other less common cancers, such as cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus, and penis. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types that can cause cancer.

HPV and genital warts are usually spread by direct, skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal or oral sex with a partner who already has the virus. HPV can infect any person who is sexually active.

A person may not know right away-or even ever-if they have been infected by HPV. Genital warts do not always appear right away. And many people who get HPV never develop warts or any cervical or anal cell changes. It's different for each person.

Researchers at NCI and other sites are studying how HPVs cause precancerous changes in normal cells and how these changes can be prevented. They are using non-infectious HPV-like particles created in the laboratory as preventive vaccines against the viruses. Investigators are conducting clinical trials to test vaccines for certain papillomaviruses, such as HPV-16 and HPV-18, which are known to be particularly high-risk for the development of cervical cancer. It is hoped that a vaccine will be available within 10 years to prevent the most common HPV infections.

Nevertheless, it's possible that new vaccines that target cervical HPV also will help decrease anal cancer. The only available vaccine, manufactured by Merck & Co., protects against the four strains of HPV that cause most cases of cervical cancer and genital warts.

Human papillomavirus (pronounced pap-ih-lo-ma-vye-rus) is also called HPV. It is a virus that includes more than 100 types, over 30 of which are sexually transmitted. The types of HPV that infect the genital area are known as genital HPV. Most sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives, though most will never know it because it usually has no symptoms and goes away on its own. Genital HPV types are either low-risk or high-risk types. This does not have to do with the risk of getting the infection. It is about the risk of getting cervical cancer. 

On the basis of the simple question about awareness of STD and HPV that was asked at the end of the interview (the term 'HPV' was not used previously by the interviewer), a quarter of participants (24.2%, n=388) said they were aware of HPV. There were some age differences, with 29% of respondents who were in the cervical cancer screening age (25-64 years) reporting awareness of HPV compared with only 15% aged 16-24 years or 65 and over. Differences in HPV and STD awareness by ethnic group were not significant, but awareness was lower in respondents with lower levels of education and income.

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 Genital human papillomavirus (HPV)