Human papilloma virus. Are warts really that harmless?

Says infectious disease doctor, allergist-immunologist

what is the human papilloma virus

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 simply carriers of the disease, while in others this virus manifests itself as papillomatosis of the skin and mucous membranes. Approximately 30 types cause damage to the female genital organs. Sometimes this viral disease can be the causative agent of cancerous degeneration of cells. The most dangerous of them are papillomavirus types with a high oncological risk, ie. viruses that have the greatest ability to cause cancer of the genital organs, in particular cervical cancer. According to H. zur Hausen, who received the Nobel Prize for research, cervical cancer is caused by 16 and 18 subtypes in 95%, and all together - in 99. 8%. Human papillomavirus is the second (after genital herpes) most common viral infection of the female genital area.

Papillomaviruses are found in about 70% of women. Also, this benign neoplasm forms in any area of the body:

  • neck
  • under the chest;
  • in the stomach;
  • expensive;
  • in the armpits;
  • on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nostrils, lips;
  • on the mucous membranes of internal organs.

This infection refers to intracellular parasites that are unable to reproduce by themselves, and for this they use the cells of the human body.

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

Infection can occur:

  • during sexual intercourse (including anal and oral types of intercourse);
  • at birth. From mother to newborn as it passes through the birth canal during delivery. The disease is detected in the early years, when papillomas can appear in the mouth (laryngeal papillomatosis) and on the skin;
  • in the absence of rules of personal hygiene, when shaving or waxing;
  • homey way. Due to the fact that such a virus is extremely tenacious, and especially in a humid environment, there is a risk of catching it when using public places - saunas, swimming pools, baths, baths, gyms. The virus penetrates through the smallest cracks in the skin.

Some kind of virus can be contracted even by shaking hands. If there is someone in the family who is a carrier of the virus, then the risk of the rest of the family getting sick is very high. This virus is highly contagious.

Factors that contribute to HPV infection:

  • decreased general immunity due to the influence of various carcinogens;
  • overwork, the presence of stress of a different nature;
  • failure of the hormonal background;
  • pregnancy (due to the restructuring of the body and changes in hormonal levels);
  • the presence of diseases that cause metabolic and metabolic disorders.

If the virus enters a healthy body, with good immunity, the immune cells destroy it, and an infection does not occur, it does not threaten a completely healthy person.

Important! Men are more likely to act as passive carriers of the virus, which is less dangerous for men than for women - they are much less likely to develop oncology. Children under the influence of the virus can develop warts on the skin, papillomatosis of the larynx (usually in chronic recurring form). Papillomatosis of the larynx causes respiratory problems, up to choking syndrome. Skin warts are present in 12% of schoolchildren, this is the most common dermatological disease in children. Remember! Regular checkups with your doctor can help prevent the development of cervical cancer caused by HPV. After all outwardly this disease can not be shown.

The following research methods are used to diagnose human papillomavirus:

  • personal examination of the patient;
  • blood test;
  • colposcopy;
  • smear cytology - Pap smear;
  • tissue histology;

PCR - polymerase chain reaction. This analysis allows not only to know the presence of the virus, but also to determine its type. But if the test is positive, this does not mean that this type of HPV does not go away on its own. This test also identifies all types of papillomaviruses;

  • ureteroscopy;
  • biopsy

To detect HPV, special HPV tests are used. The most common is the PCR analysis, which allows not only to identify HPV, but also to clarify its type. However, it is best to use a quantitative HPV test to assess viral load. This method allows you to determine the critical concentration of the virus, which is directly related to the risk of malignancy. Such an analysis also makes it possible to assess the effectiveness of treatment, since it is not always possible to completely eliminate the virus, however, treatment can reduce its activity.

Since HPV can be the cause of diseases of various organs, if it is present, they turn to doctors in various fields: dermatologist, surgeon, urologist, gynecologist, proctologist, oncologist. otorhinolaryngologist, specialist in infectious diseases.

So is HPV completely curable or not? To date, there is no known antiviral drug that can eliminate HPV from the body.

One of the methods of treatment is the removal of papillomas. The main removal methods are as follows:

  • surgical.
  • radiosurgical
  • To be. This method is contactless and bloodless. A crust remains at the place of removal, under it healing occurs. electrocoagulation. cryocoagulation. Complete removal of papillomas occurs after several sessions. After removal, antiviral treatments and means to restore and strengthen immunity are prescribed. Another method of preventing the disease is vaccination against HPV. Vaccination is used both as prophylaxis and for treatment after surgery. It is held for boys from 9 to 17 years old, girls from 9 years old, women of childbearing age.

In our clinic, we use a combination of destructive treatment methods (diathermoelectrocoagulation, radio wave coagulation or laser removal of genital warts) with the use of antiviral drugs that also affect the patient's immune status. The advantage of our treatment regimen for HPV infections is that we not only remove warts, but also increase the body's resistance to viruses, preventing them from spreading. For each patient, we develop schemes for further management, including special treatments against relapses.

We can promise each patient who comes to our clinic a qualitative examination (including determining the amount of the virus type), if necessary, a special immunoreactivity study, and in any case, the selection of an individual treatment regimen, the development of an effective course against relapse.

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

On the territory of our country, 2 vaccines are registered: a vaccine against 4 types of HPV (16, 18, 6, 11) and a vaccine against 2 types (16, 18 types). The vaccine is intended for children from 9 years of age before the onset of sexual activity (the greatest protective effect of the vaccine) and women of childbearing age. in the latter case, protection is formed only against those types of viruses with which the woman did not have time to become infected.

Vaccines are effective in preventing cervical cancer, genital warts, and cancers of the vulva and vagina. The greater clinical efficacy and safety of the vaccines was confirmed by the analysis of 4 large clinical studies.

Dear friends, If you suffer from papillomatosis or have been diagnosed with human papillomavirus, but do not see any manifestations, or maybe you just want to make sure that you are healthy, make an appointment with an infectious disease specialist, an allergist. immunologist who specializes in treating this disease. The doctor will be able to choose the best plan for the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.