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Symptoms of HPV

The disease known as human papillomavirus, more commonly referred to as HPV or genital warts is a sexually transmitted infection (formerly designated as a sexually transmitted disease) which is transmitted during sexual contact both in the genital areas as well as the lining of both the mouth and of the throat. Both men and women are susceptible to HPV, though the disease has different presentations in the different sexes and can have different results as well, and in all, there are forty different kinds of the virus that have been classified by doctors and researchers to this date.

Because there are so many different presentations or types of the virus, there is also a wide range of symptoms. Many people who have HPV never even know they have the virus. This is because in approximately 9 out of every 10 cases (according to the Center for Disease Control) patients contract HPV without any symptoms whatsoever. This is both good and bad in that while in most cases, the body is able to handle HPV on it's own and clear itself of the virus within approximately two years, it is also very possible for a patient to pass on the disease without even knowing they had it in the first place. In the cases in which HPV does present with symptoms, some types present with genital warts, which are the common type of HPV which students are warned of in most sexual education classes. The warts are generally inflamed and red in color, and they can be many different sizes and shapes, ranging from smaller bumps to larger and more oddly shaped growths. If a patient has this type of HPV, warts can occur either a few weeks after sexual contact or even a few months. It is important to understand that even if a sexual partner has no visible warts, they can still pass on wart causing forms of the virus. While these are generally uncommon even among carriers of the STI, even more rare is the type of the virus which causes actual visible warts to develop in the mouth and throat.

One of the more serious potential symptoms of HPV is cervical cancer in women. It is important to take note that the types of HPV which can cause visible warts are not the same strain of the virus which are known to cause cervical cancer, and in fact, doctors and researchers aren't entirely sure which types will and will not cause cancer in patients, except that the type of the virus which causes warts has not been shown to be a cause of cervical cancer. Still, there are some very rare but very dangerous cancers which can be caused by HPV including vaginal and penile cancer, as well as cancer of the anus, the head, and the neck, just to name a few. For both cervical cancer and the other types of cancer mentioned above, patients should bear in mind that noticeable symptoms will probably not emerge until a very late stage of the cancer which will make treatment very difficult. Doctors recommend periodic screening for women, and also recommend voluntary screening for anyone who has been diagnosed with STI or has had sexual contact with a known or suspected carrier of the STI.

Remember, in the vast majority of cases, the body is able to rid itself of HPV completely on it's own within a span of around two years, but this is not always the case, and this is also no reason to avoid testing or to let known or suspected cases go untreated. Doctors and researchers at the center for disease control have estimated that the infection is so prevalent that at least during one point in their lives, about half of the sexually active population of men and women will have had HPV, and most of them will never know it. Still, only about one out of every one hundred sexually active people in the United States has genital warts. Vaccines are available for both men and women that will prevent certain types of HPV, and condoms used during sexual contact can help prevent most cases of the infection.

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Mandy

I'm 17 and im facing having hpv. it's scary that i had no symtoms, and that i had this for six months. i'm waiting for my results on my colposcopy to see exactly what it is. i know already that i have pre-cancerous cells so i don't know what else scary i can hear from the doctor of my results.

Posted Sun April 3, 2011
Myra

How long does it take to get hpv?

Posted Fri March 11, 2011
Lacey

Im 18 years old and found out i had hpv and i had no symptoms. i went to dr and they told me i had pre cancer cells on my cervix and i didnt know anything about this. so please anyone that has sexual contact be careful please cuz you can have cancer and not even know so please go to dr regular

Posted Sat February 5, 2011
Dutchez

Lately i have been experiencing pain while having intercourse.. never did this happen.. 2 wks ago i found out that i had hpv.. could this be a result of the virus? even after wards i feel a strange feeling in my abdomin. has any body else experienced this from having the virus?

Posted Thu December 30, 2010
Sandy

I just found out a few weeks ago that i have hpv and had the colposcopy. it showed that i need the leep procedure. i think it is mild dysplasia at this point. i am 45 years old. i had an affair while married. i am sure that is why i have this. i am scared but try not to dwell on it. the bad thing is i probably gave hpv to my husband now. he does not know that i have the virus. he only knows i have bad cells on the cervix.i know they say your body fights off the virus. but unfortunately does it really matter once you have abnormal cells??

Posted Mon April 19, 2010


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