Human Papillomavirus


This paper highlights human papillomavirus and its major characteristics such as signs and symptoms. It also describes the most effective methods of diagnostic, treatment and prevention of human papillomavirus. The most effective methods of disease prevention include vaccination, as mentioned in the paper. Moreover, it is also stated in the essay that human papillomavirus is cancerogenic and causes other diseases related to it, such as cancer of vagina, cervix, penis, vulva and anus; neck and head cancer; anogenital warts and recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. The above-mentioned characteristics were examined by Rosenblatt (2009), Gonzalez (2009), Borruto and De Ridder (2012), and others. Based on the mentioned and other publications devoted to the discussed topic, the paper provides characteristics of risk population, teaching, and interventions. All the given data were used in order to properly assess human papillomavirus and distinguish its major way of treatment.


Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a problem known by many people, though it appeared relatively recently. Despite the fact that HPV does not pose a considerable threat to society in general, this virus has quickly captivated information space. Human papilloma virus is a common name for a group of viruses that combines more than 70 various representatives. Viruses are capable of causing diseases of various human organs (for example, skin or genitals). During researches, a serial number was assigned to each virus of HPV group, and viruses differ from each other in the unique composition of DNA. Therefore, major signs and symptoms of human papillomavirus should be examined in more details in order to distinguish the ways of its diagnostics, treatment, and prevention.


Diagnostics consists of several stages and usually begins with clarification of complaints and a general survey of a patient. A doctor examines integuments and mucous membranes in places where warts and peaked condylomas most often occur. For women, vaginoscopy and examination of a cervix by means of gynecological speculum, colposcopy, and cytological screening (the analysis of the scraping material taken from mucous membranes of the cervix and a cervical channel) are obligatory. In addition, the doctor can take a small slice of tissues of the cervix for a biopsy by means of which it is possible to define the initial stages of malignant oncological diseases (Hudnall, 2014).

Polymerase chain reaction is one of the most reliable methods of examination, allowing to define the DNA of the virus precisely in any material submitted for analysis. The method has shortcomings, namely false positive results are possible. Today, the most high-precision method of diagnostics is the Digene-test; it helps to detect the virus and define its type according to DNA and the degree of malignancy (the ability of the virus to cause cancer) (Borruto & De Ridder, 2012).

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms are always in close interrelation with the type of papillomavirus and the disease it can cause. Warts are the main external symptoms of papilloma. Warts are roundish and convex with a dense consistency; they are absolutely painless lumps, the color of which does not differ from the surrounding skin. The 1st-4th HPV types can become the reason of their emergence. Pointed condylomas are the peculiar warts developing, as a rule, on mucous membranes and skin of genitals. Pointed condylomas can also develop in the bladder, urethra, cervix, vagina, on the skin around the anus, and in a mouth. Externally, these genital warts are similar to small convex lumps, and their edges are rough. This disease is caused by human papillomavirus types 6 and 11 (Hudnall, 2014).

Bowenoid papulosis is the disease that is characterized by the emergence of rashes on the integuments of genitals. The most frequent localizations of rashes include skin of the labia majora in women and the balanus in men. Bowenoid papulosis is caused by viruses of 16th, 18th, 31st, and 33rd types. This disease can sometimes progress into a skin cancer. Bowen's illness is the disease developing in men. On the skin of a penis, there is a raised damp velvety plaque of red color; its edges are clear-cut. The disease is caused by HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, and 45 (Gonzalez, 2009).

In women, HPV types 16 and 18 can cause cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, which is a precancerous condition of the cervix. Three stages of this process are distinguished, and the last one is the initial stage of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is a malignant oncological disease caused by HPV of 16th, 18th, 31st, 33rd, 35th, and 39th types. Unfortunately, in women, these diseases are often asymptomatic up to the last stages at which the efficiency of the treatment is considerably reduced (Rosenblatt, 2009).

Diseases Related to HPV

HPV causes such diseases as cancer of vagina, cervix, penis, vulva and anus; neck and head cancer; anogenital warts and recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. The cancer of vagina, female external genitals, penis and anus as well as precancerous lesions are relatively rare, and the majority of them are observed among persons over the age of 50 years. According to the estimates, HPV is the cause of at least 80 percent of cancers of anus and 46-60 percent of vaginal, vulvar and penis cancer. Genital warts are common among sexually active persons and usually first appear among teenagers or in early adulthood. Data on the estimates of global incidence of anogenital warts do not exist, but it is considered that their prevalence is high around the world, especially among the persons infected with HIV (Hudnall, 2014).

Risk Population

All sexually active people are in HPV risk group. The risk of infection with papillomavirus (HPV) during the life exceeds 50 percent. At the same time, a certain group of risk of HPV infection is distinguished in medicine. The group of risk includes the people who start sexual life early and people who are often changing sexual partners. Women are more susceptible to infection with human papilloma virus sexually than men; in many respects, it is connected with the features of an anatomic structure. As for the household or vertical transmission, all are equal to papillomavirus infection, and human papillomavirus in men occurs as frequently as in women (Borruto & De Ridder, 2012).


Today, the treatment of human papillomavirus infection has no clear schemes, and the choice of treatment tactics depends on the kind of disease caused by this virus. Generally, all methods of treatment are directed towards the elimination of manifestations of a viral infection rather than removal of HPV from the body. Even if warts do not make any harm and discomfort to the patient, it is recommended to treat them. The main methods of treatment include cryotherapy and electrocautery. Genital warts can be also removed by methods cryoablation, electrocautery, and laser. It should be noted that removal of warts and genital warts does not cure of papillomavirus infection, and their reappearance is possible (Gonzalez, 2009).

Surgical methods of treatment of the diseases caused by papillomavirus infection are generally applied to remove new malignant tumors. For the reduction of risk of possible recurrence of the disease, along with the mechanical methods, additional methods of treatment are applied. Specific drugs against human papillomavirus do not exist today; therefore, the antiviral preparations and drugs stimulating immune system of an organism are recommended (Rosenblatt, 2009). Any preparation has to be appointed by a doctor, and self-treatment is not admissible. In addition, it should be noted that the efficiency of the treatment of HPV is not proved by antiviral preparations, and a positive result is reached not at all patients. Any of the methods of drug treatment of papillomavirus infection existing today does not guarantee a complete cure of the disease (Gonzalez, 2009).


In the prevention of infection with human papillomavirus, the streamlining of sexual contacts is in the first place. Ideally, a couple has to use condoms for prevention of infection and enter the open relations only having convinced that both partners have no clinical signs of papillomavirus infection. In some countries, vaccination of the persons who are not yet sexually active is widely carried out. Nowadays, there are two vaccines: Gardasil and Cervarix. The Quadrivalent vaccine Gardasil is effective in preventing infection of human papillomavirus of the 6th, 11th, 16th, and 18th types. Gardasil is applied at the age of 9-26 years, and its efficiency makes more than 90 percent. This vaccine prevents cervical cancer, genital and anus warts. Bivalent vaccine Cervarix is effective for the prevention of infection by viruses of 16th and 18th type. It is used in women for the prevention of dysplasia and cervical cancer (Borruto & De Ridder, 2012).

Teaching and Interventions

A vaccine against human papillomavirus is available for humanity to protect against HPV-associated genital warts and cervical cancer since 2006. However, vaccine intake significantly varies among countries and their populations. Recent researches conducted by researchers of several pediatrics establishments showed that knowledge and attitude of people to vaccination against HPV depend upon the immunization conduction. In other words, researchers found out that educational interventions can increase common HPV vaccination acceptance. However, only educational intervention is not enough for improvement of people's attitude towards HPV vaccination. Therefore, researchers suppose that future studies will be based upon the determination of the culturally competent intervention and its effectiveness within different populations (Fu, Bonhomme, Cooper, Joseph, & Zimet, 2014).

Another studies published in The Health Psychology Journal (2010) showed that a simple risk presentation in the educational form and rhetorical questions may have a positive effect on parents' motivation to carry out HPV vaccination of their daughters. At the same time, however, such interventions seem to be more efficient when applied separately from each other rather than in combination. Each of the offered forms of intervention is brief and thus can be easily conducted by health care providers or distributed via patient health communication publications (Cox, Cox, Sturm, & Zimet, 2010).

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Taking into account all the above mentioned information, it should be noted that depending on the type, reproduction of human papilloma virus may be associated with the development of benign diseases of skin and mucous membranes (genital warts, laryngeal papillomatosis, simple, plantar and flat warts) and pre-cancerous diseases of the genital organs and squamous cell carcinoma. Infection with a virus can occur through direct contact and contact-household way. For most people, the infection is asymptomatic. The main danger of this viral infection is that it is oncogenic. According to the modern data, it is associated with the development of squamous cell carcinoma. The main method of diagnosis is smears from cervical mucosa. To prevent diseases caused by HPV, vaccines against HPV have been developed. Vaccination is possible only at laboratory confirmed absence of an infection. Currently, according to the WHO's recommendations, all girls prior to the beginning of sexual life have to be vaccinated by a vaccine against HPV.

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