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HPV: human papilloma virus and the risks of infection

Human papillomavirus (also known as HPV, from Human Papillomavirus) is one of the most common sexually transmitted viruses in the world. The virus can lead to a variety of diseases, including papillomas of the skin and mucous membranes, and has been linked to cancer risk.

HPV has many different types, some of which can cause skin warts, such as warts on the hands, feet, nails, or other parts of the body. These are usually harmless, but can be bothersome and cosmetically unacceptable. Cutaneous warts are usually benign and do not lead to cancer.

Other types of HPV are associated with the risk of developing malignant tumors. For example, some types of HPV are a major risk factor for developing cervical cancer, which is one of the most deadly types of cancer in women. HPV can also lead to the development of other types of cancer, such as penile cancer, anal cancer, throat cancer, oral cancer, and some types of skin cancer.

HPV is mainly transmitted sexually, through skin contact or mucous membranes of an infected person. It can also be transmitted during childbirth from mother to child. Risk factors for HPV infection include previous sexual contact, multiple sexual partners, a weakened immune system, smoking, poor intimate hygiene and others.

Prevention of HPV infection is possible through HPV vaccination, which is available for boys and girls in many countries. Vaccination can help reduce the risk of HPV infection and related complications, such as cancers. For this reason, it is recommended that adolescents and adults of the appropriate age for vaccination consult a doctor for specific information on HPV vaccination.

Diagnosis of HPV infection is based on medical tests such as cytological examinations (Pap tests), HPV tests, and imaging tests such as colposcopy or biopsy. Early detection of HPV infection is important for early diagnosis of possible cancerous lesions and effective treatment.

Treatment of HPV infection is individualized and depends on the type of lesion, its location and the patient’s health status. For cutaneous papillomas, various topical therapies can be used, such as cryotherapy (freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen), salicylic acid, immunomodulatory drugs or surgical removal. Treatment of cutaneous papillomas is usually effective, although it can be time-consuming and require patience.

For HPV infection associated with the risk of developing malignancies such as cervical cancer or other cancers, more advanced treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy or surgery are undertaken. Early detection and treatment of HPV-related cancer is key to improving prognosis and treatment outcomes. Therefore, regular gynecological examinations, including cytology (the so-called Pap test) and HPV testing, are important for prevention and early detection of potential lesions.

In the diagnosis of HPV infection, it is possible to use genetic tests, which are more sensitive and precise in detecting HPV and its types. These tests can accurately identify the presence of the virus in the body, even before the onset of symptoms or changes visible on imaging studies. Early detection of HPV and cancer allows for more timely and appropriate treatment, which can significantly improve prognosis and therapeutic outcomes.

It is worth noting that early diagnosis of HPV infection and HPV-related cancer is crucial not only for the effectiveness of treatment, but also in preventing the development of advanced cancerous lesions and their complications. Therefore, regular examinations, visits to the doctor and awareness of one’s own health are important in the prevention and early detection of HPV infection and HPV-related cancer.

In summary, early diagnosis of HPV infection and HPV-related cancer is crucial for effective treatment and avoiding complications. Regular examinations, including tests of DNA material, allow early detection of cancerous lesions or papillomas, so that appropriate treatment can be administered more quickly. Prevention, education and regular health care are important in preventing and controlling HPV infection and related conditions.