Many infections of the Human Papillomavirus produce no symptoms at all – particularly in the early stages. However symptoms may well appear some time after the initial infection and it is possible to infect others even in the absence of HPVsymptoms.
There are over one hundred strains of the HPV infection – the presence of any HPVsymptoms will be dependent on which strain is causing the infection. Even though a number of the strains are implicated in the appearance of genital warts it is not uncommon for the warts never to appear.
There are number of different types of warts that may or may not be visible to the naked eye –
- Genital warts – these warts appear as a small lesion or bump resembling a cauliflower, benign in nature they may be seen on the vulva, the anus, the vagina or the cervix. When present in men they may be seen on the penis, scrotum and/or anus.
- Common warts – these are the warts that usually appear on fingers, hands, nails and may appear as uneven, elevated bumps. These warts are also benign and may be unsightly; they also may cause pain or bleed due to injury.
- Plantar warts – these warts generally appear on areas which come under pressure, the heel or the ball of the foot for example, and may be painful or uncomfortable.
HPVsymptoms and medical advice
If you should detect any warts, or feel any generalised areas of pain and discomfort that may be caused by warts, it is necessary to seek the advice of your medical practitioner who may recommend an HPV test be carried out. Women should undergo regular Pap smear tests in addition to an HPV test as part of the cervical cancer screening process. Studies show that the HPV virus, when left untreated, is a high risk factor for both anal and cervical cancer – if you suspect you are infected it is important to seek treatment as quickly as possible.
Prevention of HPV
As with many medical conditions prevention of HPV symptoms is better than the cure. The recent development of a vaccine against HPV infection appears to have the potential to greatly reduce incidence of infection.
Since HPVsymptoms are generally the result of a sexually transmitted disease it is essential to practice safe sex and to always use a condom – this will of course offer additional protection against other infections and the AIDS virus.
If you believe you may have been exposed to the virus it is essential to ask your medical practitioner for a test in order to determine whether that is the case. You must also take steps to prevent your sexual partner from becoming infected. Since HPVsymptoms often take many years to develop, those who are infected may be surprised to be told that they are infected with this virus. HPV infection has also been implicated in cases of mouth and throat cancer – it is assumed this is due to oral sex with an infected partner.