Chances are you have at least came into contact with the human papilliomavirus and had no clue you did. Most adults have whom are sexually active have been exposed to HPV, with as many as 20 million estimated Americans to be infected with the strains that cause genital warts. The good news, most cases have no symptoms of health problems. Now for the bad news, it causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer . In many ways, you can compare HPV to genital herpes. Both are incurable and rarely have symptoms. However, both are capable of causing medical problems and are both widespread in this country.
Luckily, HPV only causes cancer in a small percentage of those infected. Besides cervical cancer, which is usually all that ever gets mentioned when discussing this infection, HPV can also cause cancer of the vulva, penis, head, neck, and anus, but these are extremely rare. These viruses are called papillomavirus because they tend to cause warts, or papillomas. Which are benign tumors. Warts caused from HPV can appear in the hands, feet or on/around the genital area. The strains of HPV that cause warts on the hands and feet are rarely the same as the ones that cause genital warts. There are about two hundred different types of HPV.
Only about forty strains are caused from some form of sexual contact and only a handful are associated with cervical cancer. More than ninety-five percent of HPV viruses cause no symptoms and problems. The Gardasil vaccine, a serious of three shots over a period of six months, was approved for women between the ages of thirteen and twenty-six. This vaccine was shown to prevent HPV strains sixteen and eighteen, strains causing seventy percent of cervical cancer. Gardisil does not cure or prevent all strains of HPV. Researchers don’t know if patients who show no symptoms are as contagious as the ones who are.