HPV (human papillomavirus virus) is a virus that causes warts to appear on the hands, feet, and even genitals. There are around 100 types of HPV, 60 of the HPV types cause warts on the hands and feet. The other 40 HPV types are called the genital HPV. They are the ones found in the genital areas that are sexually transmitted and some may cause cancer such as cervical, penile, and anal. At least fifty percent (50%) of all people who are sexually active can be infected by HPV.
HPV warts are categorized as such:
- Common Warts are rough raised bumps that appear on the fingers, hands, or elbows.
- Flat Warts are brown to dark flat-topped lesions that appear on your neck, face, shoulders, or back, which can infect both children and adults.
- Plantar Warts are firm coarse lesions that usually appear on the heels or balls of the feet.
- Genital Warts may look bumps and growths, oftentimes are cauliflower-shaped. They appear in the genital areas of men and women.
Genital warts are highly contagious. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). These may show up around weeks or months after getting infected by one’s partner carrying the virus. Others actually lay dormant and only manifest after a few years. Warts may show up just as an individual wart or it may appear as clusters. Genital warts can also cause sores and bleeding depending on where they are located.
The type of HPV is given a number as identification. About 90% of genital warts are caused by low-risk HPV types such as HPV 6 and HPV 11. These types have been linked to laryngeal, nasal, oral, and conjunctival warts. Then there are also the high-risk HPV types that are associated with 70% cervical cancer cases. These types are HPV 16 AND HPV 18. The other types depending on the number do not cause genital warts.
The HPV virus cannot be treated. But the problems of this infection, such as the appearance of warts can be treated by a doctor with the following, depending on the location and size of warts and would require a number of sessions:
- Laser surgery
- Acidic chemical procedure
- Topical Creams and Ointments
Getting an HPV Vaccine can protect both men and women with most HPV strains that cause genital warts. Wearing a condom as protection may reduce the risk of genital warts.