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Human Papillomaviruses (HPV)

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Carmen Lobitz
Human Papillomaviruses (HPV)
The safest way of protection against the most common types of HPV is vaccination. © sharryfoto – Fotolia

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What is HPV? We know about 200 different types of human papillomaviruses (HPV) of which about 40 types cause anal and genital diseases and are sexually transmitted, non-regarding the sexual orientation.

For women, most of them infect themselves with HPV some time during their lives. Children may get infected as well as for example via smear infection by the hands. However, most infections stay unrecognized because our immune system successfully eliminates the HPV. Some HPVs however are able to settle permanently in humans, specifically in mucosa cells. Thus, they disturb cell division and cause the formation of dysplasia (abnormalities of cell development). Often those dysplasias are regressing on their own. In rare cases, however, the altered tissue may cause cancer.

How does infection work?

All HPV-types that cause genital warts or cancer are transmitted by vaginal, anal or oral sex as well as any form of sex play. After infecting the cell, the HPV integrates its DNA into the genome…

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