Human papillomavirus (HPV): what is harmful to health?

Human papillomavirus

Human papillomavirus (HPV or HPV) is a group of viruses from the papillomavirus family that cause damage to the skin and mucous membranes. HPV ranks first among sexually transmitted infections. Peak infections occur between the ages of 18 and 30 years. According to statistics from various countries, 80 to 90% of people are infected with HPV. But do not be afraid first. Our immune system is capable of destroying pathogens, and does not carry the disease.

How is papillomavirus transmitted?

Sources of infection - carriers of the infection and people with clinical manifestations of HPV.

This virus is only spread from person to person.

It is found in urine, saliva, and genital secretions.

Infection enters the body in three ways:

  • Contact and household. Infection occurs by touching the skin and mucous membranes of an infected person. The risk of human papillomavirus infection is very high if there are scratches, wounds, sores, abrasions in the contact area. The virus can persist in the external environment, therefore, infection may occur in baths, swimming pools, baths, through clothing, dishes, hygiene items;
  • Sexual. This is the main route of infection. Infection occurs with any type of sexual intercourse: genital, anal, oral-genital. The probability of infection with one contact with an infected partner is 60%;
  • During childbirth, during pregnancy. An infected mother can infect the baby in the womb and through the birth canal.

Human papillomavirus infection is characterized by a latent pathway. Once infected, the virus does not manifest itself to a certain point. We may not be aware of its presence in the body. Typically, the immune system fights the human papillomavirus virus, gradually destroying it, preventing the development of pathology.

Self-healing like this takes from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the characteristics of the organism. But if the immune system is weak, then the virus enters the active phase, begins to manifest itself. Self-healing opportunities decrease with age; for people under 30, they are 80%. The first symptoms of the presence of HPV in the body may appear after a few weeks or decades. It all depends on the immune system and the type of papilloma virus that is infected.

Type HPV

About 200 types or types of human papillomavirus virus are now known. They are divided into 4 groups according to the risk of cancer. Each type is determined by the number given to it in the opening sequence.

Identify the type of HPV that:

  • never causes cancer (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 28, 49);
  • rarely causes cancer (6, 11, 13, 32, 40 - 44, 51, 72);
  • has an average oncogenic risk (26, 30, 35, 52, 53, 56, 58, 65);
  • most often gives malignant transformations (16, 18, 31, 33, 39, 45, 50, 59, 61, 62, 64, 68, 70, 73).

The last group is the most dangerous to health.

Of the high-risk oncogenic human papillomavirus, types 16, 18, 31, 33, 52, 58 are the most common.

HPV accounts for 7 - 8% of all cancers. The reason:

  • 99% of cervical cancer cases in women;
  • 93% of cases of anal cancer;
  • 51% of vulva cancer;
  • 36% of penile cancer cases;
  • 63% of cases of oropharyngeal cancer.

Human papillomavirus type has been registered since 2003.

Species name in 2003-2010. Other types (strains) are included in the species Species name since 2010
Human papillomavirus 1 (HPV1) - Mupapillomavirus 1
Human papillomavirus 2 (HPV2) HPV27, HPV57 Alphapapillomavirus 4
Human papillomavirus 4 (HPV4) HPV65, HPV95 Gammapapillomavirus 1
Human papillomavirus 5 (HPV5) HPV8, HPV12, HPV14, HPV19, HPV20, HPV21, HPV25, HPV36, HPV47 Betapapillomavirus 1
Human papillomavirus 6 (HPV6) HPV11, HPV13, HPV44, HPV74, PcPV Alphapapillomavirus 10
Human papillomavirus 7 (HPV7) HPV40, HPV43, HPV91 Alphapapillomavirus 8
Human papillomavirus 9 (HPV9) HPV15, HPV17, HPV22, HPV23, HPV37, HPV38, HPV80 Betapapillomavirus 2
Human papillomavirus 10 (HPV10) HPV3, HPV28, HPV29, HPV77, HPV78, HPV94 Alphapapillomavirus 2
Human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) HPV31, HPV33, HPV35, HPV52, HPV58, HPV67 Alphapapillomavirus 9
Human papillomavirus 18 (HPV18) HPV39, HPV45, HPV59, HPV68, HPV70, HPV85 Alphapapillomavirus 7
Human papillomavirus 26 (HPV26) HPV51, HPV69, HPV82 Alphapapillomavirus 5
Human papillomavirus 32 (HPV32) HPV42 Alphapapillomavirus 1
Human papillomavirus 34 (HPV34) HPV73 Alphapapillomavirus 11
Human papillomavirus 41 (HPV41) - Nupapillomavirus 1
Human papillomavirus 48 (HPV48) - Gammapapillomavirus 2
Human papillomavirus 49 (HPV49) HPV75, HPV76 Betapapillomavirus 3
Human papillomavirus 50 (HPV50) - Gammapapillomavirus 3
Human papillomavirus 53 (HPV53) HPV30, HPV56, HPV66 Alphapapillomavirus 6
Human papillomavirus 54 (HPV54) - Alphapapillomavirus 13
Human papillomavirus 60 (HPV60) - Gammapapillomavirus 4
Human papillomavirus 61 (HPV61) HPV72, HPV81, HPV83, HPV84, HPVcand62, HPVcand86, HPVcand87, HPVcand89 Alphapapillomavirus 3
Human papillomavirus 63 (HPV63) - Mupapillomavirus 2
Human papillomavirus 71 (HPV71) - deleted
Human papillomavirus 88 (HPV88) - Gammapapillomavirus 5
Human papillomavirus cand90 (HPVcand90) - Alphapapillomavirus 14
Human papillomavirus cand92 (HPVcand92) - Betapapillomavirus 4

What are the symptoms of human papillomavirus infection?

During the transition to the active form, HPV affects the skin, genital mucous membranes, anal area, larynx, nasopharynx. This is facilitated by:

  • decreased immunity;
  • smoking, alcohol;
  • hypothermia;
  • vitamin deficiency;
  • pregnancy;
  • hormonal disorders;
  • other sexually transmitted diseases;
  • onset of early sexual activity;
  • frequent sexual partner exchanges.
HPV manifests as growths, bruises on the skin and mucous membranes, called papillomas. They are divided into two groups: warts and condyloma. Other symptoms are also observed depending on the location of the papilloma. For example, if they are in the larynx on the vocal cords, hoarse sounds can be observed, if in the nose, difficulty breathing is possible, if in the ureter there is a violation of the outflow of urine.


Warts are the most common manifestation of human papillomavirus infection on the skin.

This is a round formation with clear borders and a rough surface. Its size usually does not exceed 10 mm.

Human papillomavirus causes the following types of warts:

  • Plain or obscene. Most common. They stand out on the skin in the form of dense gray-yellow formations with a rough surface of keratin. Formed on the back of the hand, on the fingers, between the fingers. They tend to merge with each other;
  • Flat or youthful. They usually occur in children and adolescents. This is a flat formation of flesh or a pale brown color, slightly rising above the surface of the skin. They usually appear on the face, neck, shoulders, hands in several groups;
  • Plantar. Formed on the plantar toes in the places of greatest pressure: on the heels, under the toes. Unlike other warts, its growth is inward. In appearance, they resemble vessels, but they have a rough surface and are not smooth, they crush the skin pattern. Plantar warts are painful and painful when walking;
  • Threaded. This is an elongated growth, soft to the touch, at feet up to 4 mm. Their colors range from flesh to dark brown. Formed on the neck, eyelid skin, in the armpits, groin, under the mammary glands.


Condyloma is a papilloma formed on the mucous membranes of the reproductive system, mouth, and upper respiratory tract.

Sharp and flat:

  • Pointing. They are in the form of soft cones in the form of papillary, flesh or pink. Formed in the genital area, on the mucous membranes of the external and internal genitals, anal, more rarely in the oral cavity. Can appear as a rash of many warts that merge with each other, forming something similar to the appearance of a ridge. Genital warts are easily injured during intercourse, gynecological examination, douching;
  • Rata. They look like small bumps, located in the inner layer of the mucous membrane. It is almost impossible to detect it with a simple examination. Flat warts are more dangerous than genital warts, especially if they are located on the mucous membranes of the vagina and cervix. They grow deep and wide, and tend to degenerate into cancerous tumors.

Human papillomavirus infection in women

Human papillomavirus is very dangerous in the field of gynecology, as it causes cervical cancer in women.

In 99% of cases, with the development of tumor processes, there is one type of HPV that is highly oncogenic.

The biggest threat comes from HPV types 16 and 18. These pathogens contribute to 70% of cancer and pre-cancerous cervical conditions.

The first step towards malignant tumors is structural changes in cells, thickening, proliferation of mucous membranes. This condition is called cervical dysplasia. Changes in dysplasia are not critical and can be reversed if treatment is started in a timely manner. The main thing is not to let things go smoothly.

According to the size and depth of the affected area, 3 degrees of dysplasia are distinguished:

  • light;
  • medium;
  • heavy.

The higher the degree of dysplasia, the higher the risk of cell degeneration transformed into a tumor. Mild levels often disappear on their own, and severe levels, if left untreated, tend to turn into cancer.

In the early stages of cervical dysplasia in women, caused by human papillomavirus, there are no symptoms. There is no disruption of the menstrual cycle, pain in the lower abdomen, discomfort, bleeding. Diagnosis can only be made after examination. With severe levels of dysplasia, it is possible to attach secondary infections, developing inflammatory processes in the vagina (colpitis) and cervix (cervix).

Signs of inflammation include:

  • itchy, burning;
  • pain, spotting during intercourse;
  • whiteness stinks;
  • pain in the lower abdomen.

Cervical dysplasia due to papilloma virus, if left untreated, turns into a malignant tumor within 10 to 12 years. But this is average data. Altered cell behavior is unpredictable and largely depends on the state of the immune system and the presence of risk factors.

Human papillomavirus in men

Human papillomavirus infection is rare in men. However, a man infected with HPV is a danger for women who have intercourse. She is very likely to infect her partner even though she is not symptomatic.

From the manifestations of HPV, there are genital warts on the foreskin, head of the penis, in the urethral area, around the anus. Their occurrence is due to weakened immune system, hypothermia, chronic nervous stress, overwork. Condyloma often causes pain during sexual intercourse, causing itching.

HPV complications in men include: development of phimosis (narrowing of the foreskin, which prevents glands from being removed), malignant tumors of the penis, anal area, erectile dysfunction. Risk groups include homosexual, bisexual, and immunocompromised men.


If warts or genital warts appear, you should see a doctor and undergo a human papillomavirus test. Only an expert can determine the nature of the formation, determine the cause. Depending on the location of the papilloma, you may need to consult a dermatologist, podologist, venereologist, urologist, gynecologist, otolaryngologist.

Given the risk of cervical cancer, women are advised to undergo regular checkups by a gynecologist to detect pathogens in a timely manner and cure the smallest changes caused by them at an early stage.

The following tests are used to confirm HPV:

  • Problem area inspection;
  • Examination in the gynecological chair in the mirror (for women);
  • Oncositology eradication. It is taken during gynecological and urological examination of the mucous membrane surface with a special comb (Papanicolaou test or PAP test). This test allows you to assess the shape, size, nature of the cell location under a microscope. Identify changes, damage, dysplasia or transformation of epithelial cell tumors;
  • Smear for PCR analysis. This analysis for human papillomavirus allows you to detect pathogenic DNA, determine its type and number;
  • Colposcopy (cervical examination with an optical device). It is performed when HPV is highly oncogenic and abnormalities in oncocytology are detected. In this study, the doctor examined in detail the surface of the cervix due to the large increase;
  • Histological examination (biopsy). It is done when suspicious sites are detected during colposcopy. A small amount of tissue (up to 5 mm) was taken for examination under a microscope.

How is treatment carried out?

The fight against human papillomavirus virus infection is carried out exclusively with the participation of doctors. The use of alternative methods, such as papilloma treatment with celandine, iodine, papilloma treatment with oil, treatment with laundry soap, is often ineffective. In addition, such methods of destroying warts can exacerbate the condition, cause complications, and injure the surrounding healthy skin. It is not recommended to use it at your own risk. You must first consult an expert.

Modern treatments include observation, medication, surgery and prevention of complications. Unfortunately, today there is no specific drug that destroys HPV.

Treatment is carried out comprehensively in three areas:

  • surgery;
  • strengthens the immune system;
  • use of local and systemic antiviral drugs.

Papilloma removal is performed by hardware and operating methods:

  • laser technology;
  • cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen);
  • removal with a scalpel;
  • radio wave surgery (removal with a radio knife);
  • electrocoagulation (mokcibusi with electric current);
  • moksibusi with aggressive chemicals.

Specific methods are selected taking into account the type, location and size of the formation. Removing the papilloma does not eliminate the virus by 100%, does not guarantee that later formations will not appear again.

From systemic drugs to papillomavirus infections, immunostimulations, antiviral agents are prescribed. They are used for the localization of different papillomas, helping to activate the body's defenses in the fight against infection. Any medication for HPV should be prescribed by a doctor. During therapy, repeated studies were conducted to evaluate its effectiveness.

Features of papilloma treatment by location

Treatment for oral papilloma includes growth removal and supportive drug therapy. The need to get rid of oral growth is associated with persistent discomfort, high sensitivity to the mucous membranes, ease of injury in the process of chewing food, speech disorders, and the risk of oncological transformation.

For the treatment of papilloma on the eyelids, systemic immunostimulatory agents, local ointments and gels, and surgical methods are used. Eye growth must be removed if they are prone to excessive growth, reduce vision available to the eyes, and interfere with vision. Human papillomavirus infection in the eyes is often accompanied by other infectious lesions of bacterial origin, causing inflammation of the eyelids and mucous membranes. To remove papilloma, laser therapy, cryodestruction, electrocoagulation are used.

The type of HPV that causes skin lesions is generally harmless. Treatment of papilloma on the face and body is done primarily for cosmetic purposes to remove imperfections. In addition, the formation of convexity is troublesome. They are easily touched by clothing, jewelry, or injuries. In some cases, treatment of papilloma on the skin is not necessary, as it disappears spontaneously.

The most dangerous papilloma in the genital area. Treatment of human papillomavirus manifestations in men and women in the genital area is carried out by hardware and surgical methods in combination with medication intake for immunity. The method of therapy is chosen individually for each patient.

While treating papilloma in children, immunologists and pediatricians prescribe immunostimulatory drugs, vitamins to increase immunity. Often this step is enough for the formation to disappear without surgery. If necessary to remove the papilloma, cryodestruction and laser are used as the safest methods that do not cause complications.

How to prevent HPV infection?

A large number of virus carriers around are dangerous to everyone. How to prevent infection, prevent the appearance of papilloma on the skin or mucous membranes?

Vaccination is considered the most effective method. It is recommended to do it during adolescence (11 - 12 years) before the onset of sexual activity, because sexual intercourse is the main cause of infection. The human papillomavirus vaccine can be used up to the age of 45, but it will only work if there is no HPV in the body.

The papilloma virus vaccine provides almost 100% protection against infections and cancer.

Three vaccines have been developed and successfully implemented in practice:

  • protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18;
  • also protects against HPV types 31, 33, 45, 52, 58;
  • is ​​effective against HPV types 16 and 18.

HPV vaccination is routine in 55 countries. Among them are America, Canada, France, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Norway.

In addition to vaccination, HPV prevention methods include:

  • quit bad habits (smoking, alcohol);
  • a healthy diet balanced with vitamins;
  • delaying the onset of sexual activity in adolescents;
  • an ordinary sexual partner;
  • regular checkups and checkups by a gynecologist.

To prevent plantar warts, you should wear indoor shoes in the public swimming pool, shower, dressing room. This action will reduce the risk of infection not only with HPV, but also with nail fungus (onychomycosis).

Podiatrists will help you cure HPV-related plantar warts and other types of warts on the feet and hands, get rid of painful clots, clots, and cure nail fungus quickly. They perform hardware medical pedicures, removal of toenails, foot care for diabetic feet.

If you are concerned about skin or nail problems, see a doctor to consult, find out the cause of the discomfort, get information on the methods that can be eliminated.