- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- What is HPV?
- How do you get genital HPV?
- How common is HPV? Who gets it?
- What are the symptoms of HPV?
- Can HPV be treated?
- Can HPV be prevented?
- What are the risk factors for genital HPV?
- HPV and cancer
- What about other HPV-related diseases?
- Testing for HPV
- If you test positive for HPV, what does it mean?
- Will HPV affect my pregnancy or my baby?
- Why should women over age 30 with normal test results change to co-testing every 5 years and start doing HPV testing? Is that safe?
- HPV vaccines
- Who should be vaccinated and when?
- What are the benefits of the vaccines?
- How much do the HPV vaccines cost? Are they covered by health insurance plans?
- Do you need to be tested for HPV before getting the vaccine?
- Do women and girls who have been vaccinated still need Pap tests?
- Can cervical cancer be prevented without a vaccine?
- Is the American Cancer Society in favor of vaccinating against HPV?
- Do you want more information?
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
What are viruses?
Viruses are very small organisms – most cannot even be seen with a regular microscope. They cannot reproduce on their own. They must enter a living cell, which becomes the host cell, and “hijack” the cell’s machinery to make more viruses.
Viruses can enter the body through the mucous membranes, such as the nose, mouth, the lining of the eyes, or the genitals. They can also enter through the skin and any breaks in the skin. Once inside, they find their specific type of host cell to infect. For example, cold and flu viruses find and invade cells that line the respiratory tract (nose, sinuses, breathing tubes, and lungs). The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infects the T-cells and macrophages of the immune system. HPV infects squamous epithelial cells – the flat cells that cover the surface of the skin and mucous membranes.
Last Medical Review: 05/02/2013
Last Revised: 05/02/2013