Human papillomavirus. Are warts really that harmless?

Infectious disease doctor, allergy immunologist says

What is Human Papillomavirus

Human papillomavirus (HPV, or HPV - human papillomavirus) is a widespread virus that causes a variety of diseases in both women and men. More than half of the world's population is infected with HPV. Some of them are just carriers of the disease, while in others the virus manifests as papillomatosis of the skin and mucous membranes. About 30 types cause damage to the female reproductive organs. Sometimes this viral disease can be the causative agent of cells becoming cancerous. The most dangerous of these are the types of papillomavirus that have a high tumor risk - the virus most likely to cause cancer of the reproductive organs, especially cervical cancer. According to Nobel Prize-winning researcher H. zur Hausen, cervical cancer is caused by 16 and 18 subtypes, which account for 95% of the total, and together account for 99. 8%. Human papillomavirus is the second most common viral infection of the female genital area (after genital herpes).

Papillomaviruses are found in about 70% of women. In addition, this benign tumor forms anywhere on the body:

  • neck
  • under the breast;
  • on the stomach;
  • Face;
  • in the armpit;
  • on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, and lips;
  • on the mucous membranes of internal organs.

This infection refers to intracellular parasites that cannot reproduce on their own, and for this they use human cells.

Transmission of the virus occurs through contact with the skin or mucous membranes of an infected person.

Infection can occur:

  • during sexual intercourse (including through anal and oral sex types);
  • at birth. From mother to newborn baby as it passes through the birth canal during labor. The disease is detected early, when papillomas may appear in the mouth (laryngopharyngeal papillomatosis) and on the skin;
  • in the absence of personal hygiene regulations - when shaving or depilating;
  • family way. Since this virus is very tenacious, especially in humid environments, there is a risk of infection when using public places: saunas, swimming pools, toilets, bathrooms, gyms. The virus penetrates through the smallest cracks in the skin.

Some types of viruses can even be contracted by shaking hands. If someone in your household is a carrier of the virus, there is a high risk that others in your household will contract the virus. This virus is very contagious.

Factors that lead to HPV infection:

  • Due to the influence of various carcinogens, general immunity is decreased;
  • Overwork, stress of a different nature;
  • hormonal background failure;
  • Pregnancy (due to body reorganization and changes in hormonal levels);
  • There are diseases that cause metabolism and metabolic disorders.

If the virus gets into a healthy body with good immunity, then the immune cells destroy it and infection doesn't occur, it doesn't threaten a perfectly healthy person.

important! Men are more likely to be passive carriers of the virus, which is less of a risk for men than for women -- they are far less likely to develop tumors. Children affected by the virus may develop skin warts, laryngeal papillomatosis (usually a chronic relapsing form). Laryngeal papillomatosis can cause breathing problems up to asphyxiation syndrome. 12% of schoolchildren suffer from skin warts, the most common skin disease among children. remember! Regular check-ups with your doctor can help prevent the onset of cervical cancer caused by HPV. Because on the surface, the disease may not manifest.

The following research methods are used to diagnose human papillomavirus:

  • personal examination of patients;
  • blood analysis;
  • colposcopy;
  • Smear cytology - Pap test;
  • histology;

PCR - polymerase chain reaction. This analysis not only finds out the presence of the virus, but also its type. But if the analysis is positive, that doesn't mean this type of HPV won't go away on its own. The analysis also identified all types of papillomavirus;

  • ureteroscopy;
  • biopsy

To detect HPV, a special HPV test is used. The most common is PCR analysis, which not only identifies HPV but also its type. However, it is best to use quantitative HPV testing to assess viral load. This method allows you to determine the critical concentration of virus, which is directly related to the risk of malignancy. Such an assay can also assess the effectiveness of a treatment, as it is not always possible to get rid of the virus completely, however, treatment reduces its activity.

Since HPV can be the cause of diseases of various organs, if present, they turn to physicians in various fields: dermatologists, surgeons, urologists, gynecologists, proctologists, oncologists. Otolaryngologist, infectious disease specialist.

So is HPV completely curable? To date, there are no known antiviral drugs that can clear HPV from the body.

One of the treatments is to remove the papilloma. The main removal methods are as follows:

  • surgical.
  • radiosurgery.
  • laser. This method is non-contact and bloodless. The scab remains at the site of removal and healing occurs beneath it. Electrocoagulation. Freeze solidification. The papilloma is completely removed after a few sessions. After removal, antiviral treatment and methods of restoring and strengthening immunity are prescribed. Another way to prevent disease is HPV vaccination. Vaccination can be used both as a preventive measure and as a treatment after surgery. Suitable for boys aged 9-17, girls over 9 years old, and women of childbearing age.

In our clinic, we use a combination of destructive treatments (diathermy coagulation, radio wave coagulation or laser removal of condyloma acuminatum) and antiviral drugs, which also affect the patient's immune status. The advantage of our treatment regimen for HPV infection is that we not only remove warts, but also strengthen the body's resistance to the virus and prevent it from spreading. We develop a further management regimen for each patient, including a specific anti-relapse regimen.

We can promise to every patient who comes to our clinic a qualitative examination (including determination of the number of virus types), special studies of the immune response if necessary, and in any case the selection of an individual treatment regimen to develop an effective anti-relapsecourse.

One of the latest advances in the treatment of HPV infection is a vaccine to prevent infection caused by HPV, which, according to scientists, also prevents cervical cancer. The development of various types of HPV vaccines began in the early 1980s. The initial data served as the basis for a large clinical trial in women of different age groups as well as children. Since then, significant progress has been made in improving the vaccine and evidence of its efficacy and safety has been obtained. Currently, three vaccines have been developed.

There are 2 vaccines registered in my country: one against 4 HPV types (16, 18, 6, 11) and one against 2 types (16, 18). This vaccine is for children over 9 years of age before sexual activity (the vaccine provides maximum protection) and women of childbearing age. In the latter case, protection is formed only against those types of viruses that women do not have time to contract.

Vaccines are effective against cervical cancer, genital warts, and vulvar and vaginal cancer. Analysis of 4 large clinical studies confirmed the highest clinical efficacy and safety of the vaccine.

Dear friends, if you have papilloma or have been diagnosed with human papillomavirus and you are not seeing any manifestations, or you are just trying to make sure you are healthy, make an appointment with an infectious disease specialist, an allergist-specializedImmunologists who treat the disease. Doctors will be able to choose the best option for diagnosing and treating the disease.