Genital infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common disease worldwide sexual transmission, which is a global public health problem. It affects both men and women, who are infected through sexual intercourse in the first decades of life.
There are over 100 variants of human papilloma virus, capable of producing large number of clinical manifestations: common warts, genital warts, laryngeal papillomatosis, genital and oropharyngeal carcinoma.
It is not known exactly latency time between the acquisition of the disease and the appearance of skin lesions, but can be very long (even several years).
A specific group of HPV can infect the genital or oral mucosa, producing specific lesions that can be benign or premalignant tumor or character.
Symptoms of HPV
Once infection occurs, HPV persists long way in the anogenital area of infected people without possible eliminate by specific treatments. In the vast majority of cases, this infection remains hidden and eventually eliminated by the action of the immune system of the skin, so it is not necessary to treat. However, in other cases, HPV can cause skin lesions in the genital area, which can be of two types:
- Genital warts (genital warts) are the most frequent warty lesions appear as grouped in the genital or anal area affected persons. long others may develop after infection by HPV, and are themselves the main source of infection. Usually they do not cause pain or other symptoms, so it may go unnoticed for long periods. These lesions are completely benign and are caused by HPV-6 and 11; however, they are characterized by their resistance and difficulty to treatment, and the tendency to recur after being eliminated.
- Moreover, when those responsible for infection are other HPV types (especially 16 and 18), there is a risk that appear in the genital area premalignant lesions that if untreated can progress to squamous cell carcinoma genital. This is the natural history of cervical carcinoma, which is similar to what can happen in vulva, vagina, penis or anus, depending on the area infected by HPV.
The diagnosis of these cancers caused by HPV genital is based on clinical examination by the specialist in Dermatology. This is critical when the prognosis of these cases, since the treatment of early lesions is simple and without sequelae.
For all this, the assessment and treatment of genital HPV infection is complex and should evaluate different aspects: types of injuries (location, number, duration), treatments used, associated diseases, etc.
It is also essential information and counseling of patients and their partners, which are priority actions to prevent the spread of infection and prevent situations of anxiety and worry that are part of the consequences of this disease.