When I came to college back in 2010, I soon fell in love with a young man who is now my fiancé. When we decided to have sex, he assured me that he was clean and STD free. Well, upon visiting my gynecologist a few months after, a pap smear revealed that I had developed a few abnormal cells, a result from HPV. What is HPV? I thought he said he was STD free! This prompted me to embark on a mission to find out the truth about HPV.
So, what is HPV? HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus. This consists of a double stranded DNA virus which infects epithelial cells, such as skin and mucus membranes. People faced with HPV risk genital and oral warts, benign lesions, as well as cancers of the mouth, throat, or genitalia.
HPV spreads through sex (this includes vaginal, anal, and oral sex) and is considered to be an STI (sexually transmitted infection). On a cellular level, HPV enters into a person through sexual contact. The virus then joins with DNA and can do one of two things. It can multiply into many infected cells through replication, resulting in wart-like lesions, or the infected cell can explode, causing inflammation, pain and spots. The released live virus is then allowed to cross infect other cells (Kräusslich 2007). In cases of pre-cancerous situations, once the virus infiltrates the cell’s DNA, cell regulators and tumor suppressor genes are altered and can no longer operate with its intended purpose. This results in uncontrollable propagation of HPV cell cancer. (asccp.org)
The Human Papilloma Virus has two sub-types, one of which has very little or no oncogenic potential (HPV 6, 11, 42, 43, 44). The term oncogenic describes a gene that causes normal cells to change into cancerous tumor cell...
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Rachael Rettner. "Teens Who Don't Have Sex Still at Risk for HPV Infection." LiveScience.com. N.p., 06 Aug. 2012. Web.
Schmidt, C., R. G. Pretorius, M. Bonin, L. Hanson, N. Semrad, and W. Watring. "Invasive Cervical Cancer following Cryotherapy for Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia or Human Papillomavirus Infection." 80.5 (1992): 797+. NCBI. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Web.
Weiss, Adam, DDS, and Harry Dym, DDS. "Oral Lesions Caused by Human Papillomavirus." Clinical Advisor. N.p., 10 Jan. 2011. Web.
Wheeler, C. M. "Europe PubMed Central." The Natural History of Cervical Human Papillomavirus Infections and Cervical Cancer: Gaps In... N.p., n.d. Web.
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