May 112010

HPV infection is one of the most common STD or STIs (sexually transmitted infections). HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus and normally attacks the genital areas of males and females. HPV has a wide variety and more than 42 are known till date. Apart from attacking the genital areas, it is also found to affect throat and mouth. It is a very illusive kind of virus and most people infected by it are completely unaware of its attack. Our immune system takes care of it and can get rid of it in almost 2 years.

But there are certain varieties that are known to cause various types of cancers (both mild and serious). It is almost impossible to say that any person who is affected by HPV will develop cancer or not. It’s because many varieties of this virus attack simultaneously and it’s not feasible to isolate different kinds of HPV varieties for individual study of their effects.

The most common symptoms are the warts that appear on and around the genital parts. These warts appear in clusters and can be of various shapes and sizes. It may take weeks or even months for these lumps to appear in a person who had had sexual relationship with an infected individual. It’s not necessary that the infected person ought to have these warts in the very first place. Your body reaction may be very different from that of your partner. One thing should be clear that if these genital warts remain even after the infection is over, they don’t turn cancerous.

HPV is primarily transferred or spread through genital contact. A person may have vaginal anal or oral sex, this virus is bound to creep in with any kind of such activity. Even if someone does not ‘actually’ indulge in sex but just maintains genital contact, this activity is enough for the spread of this virus. The chances of this virus passing from a mother to her child are very rare.

There are vaccines available that provide immunity from the most common HPVs. These should be administered during childhood only, because then the possibility of sexual contact is minimal. Moreover, all the three doses, which are most commonly given all over the world, must be given to the children without fail.

Other protective measure like condoms are also effective but they should be used during the entire sex act. Nevertheless, areas that are not covered by condom still have the risk of HPV infection. Another remedy is to have a single or very few sexual partners. This also proves to be a very tricky affair because it’s not possible to determine if the single partner you are living with doesn’t have this virus in his/her body.

The most disturbing fact is that people who have had lifetime single partners also developed HPV infection, though such cares are extremely rare. But one thing is for sure, that proper precaution can limit this disease to a very great extent.