Human Papillomavirus HPV

The virus under a microscope

Background Knowledge

The first time HPV was discovered it was in 1956 by a group of scientists. Later, scientists in Germany were looking for the connection between Cervical Cancer and viral infection when they discovered more strains of HPV. Harald Zur Hausen had read reports from doctors about women with genital warts also developing Cervical Cancer. In 1984 Harald zur Hausen discovered, cloned and attributed cervical cancer to HPV.

The virus- 3D view

Diseases/ Ailments

HPV is caused by human papilloma virus. It causes warts on the skin, although some are not always visible. Cervical cancer is the most common health problem linked to HPV in women. Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. Also HPV can cause cancer vulva cancer which is much less common than cervical cancer and cancer in back of the throat (called oropharyngeal cancer).

Symptoms of HPV

Transmission

HPV is passed from one person to another during the contact that occurs with sex. You can not get HPV from the following: toilet seats, hugging or holding hands, swimming in pools or hot tubs, having a family history of the virus, sharing food or utensils or being unclean. It is a very commonly shared virus, and most people will have it during their lifetime.

Genetic makeup of the virus

Prevention

Abstinence is the only way to insure the prevention of HPV. However, there are vaccines that can be used to protect young people from the HPV types most closely linked to cancer and genital warts. Condoms also provide some protection against HPV, but they do not completely prevent infection.

The HPV vaccine

Benefits to Science

Since discovering that HPV is a key contributor to Cervical Cancer, we now know how to prevent Cervical Cancer. Using the HPV vaccine, we can considerably lower the amount of Cervical Cancer cases. Now we know that Cervical cancer is preventable with vaccines and regular screening tests. It also lead to an awareness for the virus.

An awareness sign for the HPV vaccine

CITATIONS

"Genital HPV Infection - Fact Sheet." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 03 Jan. 2017. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

"HPV Symptoms and Tests." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

"HPV and Cancer." American Cancer Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Credits:

Created with images by euthman - "CIN 1/HPV on ThinPrep"

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