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The Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that for some can cause serious health issues2

You may not know much about HPV but you should, because it could have serious effects on your health now and in the future. There are over 190 different types of HPV, and 40 of them affect the anogenital area.34

For most young individuals infected with HPV, the virus goes away on its own. If the virus does not go away it can develop into genital warts, pre-cancerous lesions, or even HPV related cancers such as cervical, vulvar, vaginal, anal, and penile cancer, depending on the HPV type.2

There are 4 types that we should be most concerned about.2

  • HPV Types 16 and 18 cause about 70 % of cervical cancer cases.
  • HPV Types 6 and 11 cause about 90 % of genital warts cases.

HPV infections may have no signs or symptoms.

Many people don’t know they have HPV or are passing it on.

4 Types of HPV that women need to be concerned about

HPV is a hardy virus:

  • HPV is resistant to heat and drying, and is able to survive on inanimate objects such as clothing and laboratory equipment that have come in contact with infected patients, although the precise survival time is unknown. 3, 4
  • For physical inactivation, heating to 100 degrees and UV irradiation are needed.
  • Hypochlorite and PAA (peroxyacetic acid)-based disinfectants with 45 minute contact time were the only ones with significant effect on the virus.

HPV can survive undetected on skin or under your fingernails.5

  • Detection of genital HPV in the fingertips was not uncommon.

HPV infections may have no symptoms but the virus can still be transmitted 6

  • Once a HPV virion invades a cell, an active infection occurs and the virus can be transmitted.
  • It may take several months to years before lesions develop and can be clinically detected.

HPV is not only transmitted sexually and has been found quite frequently in young women without prior experience of sexual intercourse.7