Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a widespread viral infection that commonly causes various types of skin and mucosal lesions.
Currently, more than 100 HPV genotypes have been identified; some types can cause warts and some can cause different types of cancer.
In most cases, the presence of the papillomavirus goes undetected, because it is mostly asymptomatic.
Complications of HPV infection
The immune system copes with most viral infections on its own, but in some cases the virus remains in the body and manifests itself in different ways. The anogenital tract is a target for more than 40 human papillomavirus genotypes. Low- and medium-to-highly oncogenic anogenital papillomaviruses are distinguished.
High-risk HPV is associated with precancerous lesions (growths) and invasive cancer, while low-risk HPV is more often found as asymptomatic or benign growths in various parts of the body.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified high-risk HPV genotypes that can cause:
- Cervical cancer;
- Anal cancer;
- Penile cancer;
- Vulvar cancer;
- Vaginal cancer;
- Certain types of cancer of the breast, head and neck.
For HPV prevention the following are important: vaccination, regular cervical cancer screening, using protective condoms, wearing shoes in public pools and locker rooms, protecting monogamous warts from rough touching, etc.
A timely and accurate diagnosis of infection is critical to avoiding complications.