Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common disease that neither children nor adults are protected from. To get this infection is quite simple, because its cells are around us and retain their viability without a carrier for a long time.
In addition, it can settle imperceptibly in the human body and will not manifest itself until a certain point. All this time, the infected object has been the carrier of the disease, which is why HPV is transmitted both to people who happened to be near it and to members of its family.
Papillomavirus – a provocateur of the development of oncology
Almost every third person on the body has small growths that initially seem harmless and harmless. If such neoplasms are detected, the first reaction of the patient becomes their stripping or elimination by alternative methods.
In fact, such actions often cause irreparable harm to health, since improper removal of papillomas can provoke active proliferation of epithelial tissues. It is this that contributes to the rapid spread of HPV in the body, and in some cases even causes a mutation of skin cells with subsequent degeneration into a cancerous tumor.
To date, scientists have divided all types of papillomavirus into three categories:
- low oncogenic;
- highly oncogenic.
These groups include certain varieties of the disease, which have their own level of probability of transformation of the growth into a cancerous tumor. A virus with low and high oncogenicity when it enters the body penetrates the genome of epithelial cells, which changes their structure and causes the appearance of a malignant tumor. In this case, the patient needs immediate professional treatment, since ignoring this problem can lead to death. It is not worth it to engage in an independent fight against the disease, because it will still not be possible to cure it without the help of a specialist.
How is human papillomavirus transmitted?
All types of disease, oncogenic and safe, spread in the same way. HPV can be transmitted in one of three ways:
- sexual intercourse with an infected person;
- transmission of infection from mother to child during pregnancy (vertical method);
- household transmission.
Increases the likelihood of catching the disease the presence of damage to the skin. Through small abrasions or scratches, viral cells quickly penetrate deep into the skin and begin to spread throughout the body. In addition, the following factors can increase the chances of infection:
- weakening of the protective functions of the body (seasonal or postoperative);
- the presence of intestinal dysbiosis or disturbances in the normal microflora in the vagina;
- alcohol addiction;
- sexually transmitted diseases, in particular gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis
- diabetes of any type;
- exacerbation of any chronic disease;
- pregnancy at any time;
- frequent stay in stressful situations.
In addition, the “experienced” smokers are the most susceptible to infection with papillomavirus, as well as women who take combined birth control pills.
Sexually transmitted HPV transmission
With weakened immunity, sex with a sick person is a 100% way to get an infection. Due to such a high risk of transmission of the causative agent of the disease, doctors insist on refusing to have promiscuous sexual intercourse and recommend that only intimate relationships be established with a trusted partner.
Studies of the nature of papillomavirus have helped to establish that in almost 75% of cases, the source of infection is a man. However, this does not mean that most infected women are not the spread of HPV. The chances of transmission of the human papillomavirus from woman to man can be enhanced by the presence of external symptoms of the disease – genital warts, which are located on the mucous membranes of the internal organs. Moreover, even strong immunity is not always able to protect against this type of human papillomavirus infection.
There is an opinion that it is possible to catch the disease only with ordinary intercourse (penetration of the penis into the vagina). But actually it is not. Doctors say that the virus cells spread regardless of how the sexual contact with the carrier occurs. It could be:
- oral sex;
- touching your genitals with your hands;
- anal sex;
- sexual intercourse without penetration.
In addition, the virus is found in saliva, so you can get HPV even through a simple kiss.
Will a condom protect against disease?
Manufacturers of barrier contraceptives say that a condom is 99% able to prevent infection with any sexually transmitted diseases. This begs the quite logical question of whether it works with the human papillomavirus.
HPV is a unique infection from which there is no absolute protection. Therefore, even a condom will not give a full guarantee that the infection will not be transmitted from the carrier to a healthy person during intercourse. This is due to the fact that the infected cells of the virus are located throughout the skin and if you wear a condom, then the papillomavirus will not enter the body when it comes into contact with the genitals, but when it is touched with other parts of the body.
Of course, this does not mean that a condom is a useless method of contraception. Despite the fact that it does not protect against HPV, it prevents the transmission of other more serious diseases, and also protects against unplanned pregnancy.
Vertical way of infection
The vertical way of transmitting the virus is infection of the baby during fetal development or when it passes through the birth canal.
Infection occurs around the sixth week of pregnancy, at a time when the baby has not yet formed bronchioles and alveoli. At this point, the fetus begins to develop respiratory papillomatosis. If at the birth of a baby he is diagnosed with difficulty breathing due to growths in the airways, then the doctors perform a surgical operation. Drug therapy in this case is useless.
If the expectant mother became infected with papillomavirus after 6 weeks of pregnancy, then the virus can be transmitted during childbirth. The child loses placental protection and passes through the birth canal, where infection occurs.
HPV treatment in pregnant women
If a human papilloma virus is detected without external signs, doctors prescribe a woman taking immunostimulating drugs. If the future mother has condylomas on the walls of the vagina or cervix, then they must be removed. You can do this with:
- laser therapy;
- radio wave destruction.
In a particularly severe case, the patient is prescribed a surgical operation. This method is resorted to only when the neoplasm exceeds 5 cm or there is a suspicion of oncology.
With a pre-established diagnosis of papillomavirus, a pregnant woman is given a cesarean section. This is the only way to protect your child from infection.
Very often, papillomavirus appears after pregnancy. The reason for this was a temporary decrease in the protective functions of the body. In the absence of growths on the walls of the vagina or cervix, no treatment is prescribed. Usually, after the baby is born, the external signs of HPV disappear on their own.
Household transmission of the virus
When diagnosing papillomavirus in one person, we can say with 90% certainty that it has already been transmitted to all other members of his family. You can get HPV at home:
- when wearing shoes or clothes of a sick person;
- in the general use of towels, washcloths and other personal hygiene items;
- through saliva when using dishes or a toothbrush;
- after using one shaving machine (the greatest risk of infection when cutting the skin).
Other ways to spread the infection
In addition to all the listed transmission routes of papillomavirus, it is quite possible to pick up the pathogen
- in a bathhouse, sauna or pool;
- in public transport (the main place of accumulation of viral cells – handrails, seats, doors);
- when shaking hands with a sick person;
- when using elevators, escalators;
- in a nail salon (with insufficient sterilization of instruments).
Not so long ago, the Ministry of Health of Russia published information that almost 20% of cases of infection with papillomavirus occur during transfusion of donated blood. In addition, the staff at hospitals and clinics are exposed to the greatest risk of infection, which can inhale the cells of the disease in contact with the patient. In this case, a medical mask is a weak way of protection.
Vaccination – guaranteed safety against HPV?
Many have heard about the benefits of vaccination for human papillomavirus, but few people know that even this method is not a guarantee of complete safety against infection.
Today, there are two types of preventative drugs – Gardasil and Cervarix. It is a mistake to assume that they protect against all existing types of human papillomavirus. Their composition helps to protect themselves from only a few varieties of HPV, which are of cancerous types – 6, 11, 16, 18.