Facts about HPV
There are more than 100 different types of HPV

On Knightmode Health and Lifestyle, I try to talk about some important health topics that not only affect the general populace but also affect us as nurses and health personnel. Note that the statistics given here may not represent the Nigerian population.

Today, we take a look at HPV and some general facts about the infection. 

Enjoy the read and do not forget to drop a comment!

Facts About HPV

  • HPV stands for human papilloma virus - it’s the name for a group of viruses that affect the skin and the moist membranes lining your body, including the cervix, anus, mouth and throat.
  • There are more than 100 different types of HPV, 30 of which can affect the genital area.
  • It is the second most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK.

How is it spread?

  • HPV is highly contagious and spreads easily, usually through sexual intercourse (oral, vaginal or anal sex) or skin-to-skin contact of the genital areas.
  • Sometimes, HPV can be transmitted during birth too.
HPV infections can sometimes remain dormant and then later infect a new or existing sexual partner.

What are the symptoms and effects?

  • Most of the time, the body’s immune system defeats an HPV infection before symptoms appear, and often HPV infections are benign, causing nothing more than warts or verrucas.
  • Some forms of HPV lead to genital warts (the second most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in England), abnormal tissue growth and other changes to cells within your cervix – which can sometimes lead to cervical cancer.
  • Most of the 100s of strands of HPV are harmless, however about 12 types can cause cancer, including cancers of the anus, penis, vagina, vulva and back of the throat (oropharyngeal).
  • Neck and Face Swelling: Lung cancer can cause swelling in the face, neck, arms and upper chest when a tumor is pressing against the vein that goes from the head to the heart. This particular symptom is called superior vena cava obstruction and is commonly caused by cancer.

Is there a cure?

  • Warts often disappear by themselves or you can take medication to get rid of them, but there’s no cure for HPV.
  • It’s best to see your doctor if you have warts, as they will be able to prescribe the best course of treatment.
  • Seeing as there is no cure for HPV, prevention through the vaccine and practicing safe sex are recommended by doctors.


  • Routine screening for women aged 21 to 65 years old can prevent cervical cancer.
  • Use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex. This can lower your chances of getting HPV. But HPV can infect areas not covered by a condom – so condoms may not fully protect against getting HPV.
  • Be in a mutually monogamous relationship – or have sex only with someone who only has sex with you.
  • Get vaccinated. The HPV vaccine is safe and effective. It can protect against diseases (including cancers) caused by HPV when given in the recommended age groups.  CDC recommends 11 to 12 year olds get two doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV. 
  • There are HPV tests that can be used to screen for cervical cancer. These tests are only recommended for screening in women aged 30 years and older. HPV tests are not recommended to screen men, adolescents, or women under the age of 30 years.
  • Most people with HPV do not know they are infected and never develop symptoms or health problems from it.

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