What are signs and symptoms of HPV?
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is currently the most widespread STI in the world. According to CDC, almost every sexually active individual who is not vaccinated will have HPV at some point in their lives. Almost 80% of the American population is, infected with HPV. There are 14 million new infections every year. For most people, the infection goes away on its own. There are cases where HPV becomes a serious risk factor for some cancer types.
What Are The Symptoms of HPV?
There are over 100 HPV types. About 40 of these are transmitted sexually. All these types are either high-risk or low-risk HPV. Low Risk HPV’s are known to cause warts but they generally do not have other symptoms. In most cases, they go away on their own and will not have any long-term effect.
High-risk HPV is considered more aggressive and may need some medical attention. Some of these high-risk HPVs may lead to changes in cells leading to cancer. Unfortunately, high-risk HPV does not have any signs or symptoms until they cause serious health issues. This is why it is important to have regular checkups. In most cases, it is possible to prevent cervical cancer if the abnormal cell changes are found early enough.
Pap smears are used to detect these abnormal cells in the cervix. The test will not test for cancer or for HPV but can detect the cell abnormality caused by HPV. The changes can be monitored and treated before they advance to serious conditions. Unfortunately, there is no test that can detect high-risk HPV in the anus, throat, penis or vulva. The lack
of symptoms does not make things easy.
Your body will, in most cases, fight the HPV infection before warts are created. In cases where the warts
appear, they will vary depending on the HPV variety involved:
These will appear as flat lesions, tiny stem-like protrusions, or small cauliflower-like bumps. In women,the genital warts will appear on the vulva but can also appear on the cervix, near the anus or inside the vagina. In men, the genital warts will appear on the scrotum, on the penis or near the anus. Though they may itch, the warts will rarely cause pain or discomfort.
The common warts will appear as raised bumps on the elbows, fingers, or hands. They are rough and can be unsightly. These warts are susceptible to bleeding and injury and can be painful.
These are grainy growths that are hardy and appear on the balls of the feet or on the heels. They might cause some discomfort.
These are flat-topped warts that are slightly raised and can be a little darker than the surrounding skin. These warts appear just about anywhere though children get them on the face and men get them around the beard area. Women usually get them around the legs.
It is important to get tested if you notice any warts because HPV will mostly not have any symptoms. Though the infection might be defeated by the body’s immune system, it is important to get treated just to prevent other serious health issues later on.