Genotyping of human papillomavirus

  • About disease
  • About testing
  • Prevention and treatment

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.

Risk factors for HPV infection include:

  • Number of sexual partners
  • Weakened immune system
  • Damaged skin – cuts or open wounds are more prone to the formation of warts;
  • Damaged skin – cracked or chapped skin is more vulnerable to the formation of common warts.
  • Unprotected contact with warts

Papillomavirus infection is often transmitted sexually and through physical contact with warts or condylomas. In addition, a newborn may become infected during natural childbirth. The virus can spread even if a person is not sexually active or has had only one partner for many years.

The HPV test is part of cervical screening. During the procedure, a small sample of cells is taken from the cervix and tested for the presence of HPV. The purpose of screening is to prevent cervical cancer. Some sexual health clinics also offer to screen men at high risk of anal cancer.

The American Cancer Society recommends that women ages 30 to 65 get a HPV test along with a Pap test every 5 years. The test is also recommended for women who have abnormal Pap test results.

The papillomavirus test is based on the PCR method, which detects 37 subtypes of papillomavirus DNA in a cervical smear:

  • Medium and high-risk: 16, 18, 26, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 53, 56, 58, 59, 66, 68, 69, 73 and 82 (MM4 e IS39).
  • Low-risk: 6, 11, 40, 42, 43, 44, 54, 61, 62, 67, 70, 71, 72, 74, 81, 83, 84 and 91

Treatment of HPV depends on the type of skin and mucosal lesions. Colposcopy is recommended in cases where HPV or Papanikolaou (Pap) test results are abnormal. During the procedure, the cervix is carefully examined and cells from suspicious areas are sampled for biopsy.

For the prevention of HPV, the following are important: vaccination, regular screening, use of protective condoms, wearing shoes in public pools and locker rooms, protection of warts from mechanical damage, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of complications can HPV cause?

HPV can cause different types of warts or cervical cancer.

What are contributing factors to HPV?

Unprotected sexual contact;

Weakened immune system;

Exposure to warts;

Damaged skin;

Number of sexual partners.