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HPV and its Health Impact

HPV Facts

HPV (human papilloma virus) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Some people believe diseases like AIDS or gonorrhoea infection are more frequent, but looks can be decieving. Truth is, millions of people are infected with HPV in the United Kingdom, but most of them never ever find out they are. HPV is a silent infection in most cases and it isn't uncommon that those who have it never develop any symptoms or show signs of it. Furthermore, the virus is often elliminated from your system by your immune cells, without any need of treatment.

As a matter of fact, there is no treatment that makes the virus go away, only your immune system can get rid of it. This is why HPV vaccine is being recommended. Staying away from the infection is the best way to prevent the serious consequences it may have if the virus stays in your body for long enough, but we will discuss that later.

The closest thing we have to a remedy for the infection is treatment for genital warts. In other words, you will only need medication when the HPV is manifesting itself with symptoms. Warts are also the way of transmission for the infection. Visible warts or sores can appear on your genitalia, anus, mouth or throat. 

Most people with HPV are unaware of this because they have no symptoms. The virus can be dormant for weeks, months and even over a decade inside your body before you first develop any signs of it. The longer the virus has been inside your body, the more likely it is that you have some health complications derived from the infection.

Does HPV cause cancer?

Genital or oral warts are often disregarded as something uncomfortable or ugly, but not dangerous to your life or your health. However, many studies do show that an HPV infection can have terrible consequences, and yes, it may even cause you cancer.

There are around 200 different types of HPV, and at least five of them have been linked to throat and mouth cancer. Penile cancer and anal cancer have also been reported to have a connection with HPV.

In the United Kingdom, there is an increasing number of reported cases of oral cancer caused by HPV, especially in the male population. Experts say that changes in sexual practices may influence these numbers. Men who have sex with men are often the most vulnerable, and people are reported to have more oral sex and exchange partners more often than some years ago. This could be behind this health problem that is costing the system millions of pounds a year.

Since most people who carry HPV are unaware of their infection, they don't know either that they are at a higher risk of having oral cancer. To make things worse, the relation between HPV and oral cancer is harder to see because mouth or throat tumours caused by HPV are very difficult to detect with standard tests and rarely have characteristic symptoms, so even after a medical exam they could remain unnoticed. In cancer, just like in many other STI induced conditions, early detection and treatment are fundamental to increase your chances of living.

Treatment for HPV

 

As you know, there is no treatment available for the human papilloma virus itself. The only thing that you can do is treat the visible sores or flesh growths associated with it. Medication for HPV warts is available, but you need a prescription to buy it. Good news is that you no longer need to make an appointment with a doctor, go through the diagnosis process, then get his veredict, and finally obtaining a prescription with which you can go to the pharmacy. The miracle of technology has brought us online clinics, where you can log in your symptoms, be revewed by a real doctor, get your diagnosis and prescription very fast, and even purchase your medication and get it sent to your home.

There are several medications available for genital warts, because not all of them work in all cases. They often come in the form of creams or solutions that you apply locally. If they don't work, then your doctor will suggest to switch to another type of medication.

The most common products prescribed for genital warts are imiquimod and podophyllotoxin. The former's best known brand name is Aldara while the later is often prescribed as Warticon. They act very differently. Aldara boosts your immune system and attatchs to your white cells, inducing them to fight the virus. Aldara can be prescribed online here. Warticon fights the virus itself, and podophyllotoxin can also be bought online