Papillomavirus, HPV- human papillomavirus is a viral infection that passes between people through skin-to-skin contact. There are more than 40 strains that can be passed from person to person during oral, anal and vaginal intercourse. Statistically, most of the sexually active population will be exposed to the papilloma virus during their lifetime, and most probably will not be aware of it, since our immune system will know how to deal with the virus, but there are those who will develop condyloma (viral warts) especially in the groin and genitals, and some who will also deal with various inflammatory cells that can become pre-cancerous, or cancerous.
Papillomavirus - Facts:
» There is no cure for the virus, but there are vaccines, with the latest vaccine currently being Gardasil-9.
» The virus is mainly transmitted through sexual intercourse (anal, vaginal, and oral).
» It can cause, as mentioned, the appearance of condyloma and various types of cancer.
Although most of the population will be exposed to the virus during their lifetime, there are other factors that can affect the chances of getting it:
» High number of sexual partners.
» Weak immune system and / irritated skin (helps the virus to penetrate).
» Direct contact with condyloma.
» The virus can live in skin cells for years and not appear. With a weak immune system, other diseases in the background, taking certain medications, deficiency of vitamins such as folic acid vitamin-A, and smoking – these things can contribute to the appearance of the dormant virus.
Papillomavirus and condyloma
Condyloma, as mentioned, is caused by certain strains of the papilloma virus. Here are some more facts about them:
- The main varieties that cause warts are varieties number 6 and 11, which belong to the low risk group of the family.
- It will usually appear three months after exposure, but again, can appear years later.
- The reason for their appearance in the groin is the virus itself – it tends to penetrate into a layer of epithelial cells – these cells are found on the skin, mouth and soft tissues around the genitals.
- Warts can come out individually or in groups, they can differ in color, size, roughness and location.
There are several options for treating condyloma:
- » Home treatment – types of suspension creams that actually destroy the wart tissue.
- » Laser removal
- » Liquid nitrogen
- » Resection or electric needle
Talk to your doctor about the best treatment for you.
Papillomavirus (and condyloma) vaccine
The latest vaccine currently given against the disease is Gardasil-9. Gardasil-4 and Cervix-I are also available. Despite the vaccine, women must continue to undergo Pap tests. The vaccine is usually given in 3 doses. It is given as part of the health recommendations for women and men up to different ages in accordance with the HMO. In recent years, the Ministry of Health has decided to provide the vaccine to middle school students in order to maximize the effectiveness before this population starts to become sexually active.
Is it possible to be cured of condyloma?
There is nothing more frustrating than treating condyloma and fearing it will return. We can see that without treatment, in most cases, not only will they not go away, but it seems that they begin to spread and grow throughout the groin and genital area (and sometimes also in the thighs and lower abdomen). The good news is that the World Health Organization (WHO) has found that more than 90% of infections caused by the papillomavirus disappear from the body within two years.
And yet, even after treatment, if there is a recurrence of the condition (albeit at a lower frequency) sometimes the warts return.
There are factors that “help” condyloma recurrence, and they are:
» Weakened immune system from a medical standpoint
» Shaving (and injury of the skin) in the condyloma area
» Continued unprotected sex and increased exposure to other strains of the virus and/or other sexually transmitted diseases
Is it possible to prevent the recurrence of condyloma?
No, but the treatment makes it difficult for them to return.
√ Get vaccinated – Although the papillomavirus will not cure any strains you have been exposed to, it will help those you may be infected with in the future. (Read more about the vaccine)
√ Have safe sex, and talk to your partners about their sexual history
√ Try to lead a healthy lifestyle!
√ Reduce cigarette and smoking