Introduction to the Disease
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the name given to a group of viruses that affect the cervix, anus, mouth and throat because it affects the skin and moist membranes lining the body, affecting both men and women. It is an extremely common virus that dates back thousands of years. It is from the papillomavirus family; and there are over 100 types of HPV. Many of these types cause no symptoms and many HPV infected people are unaware but some can cause:
• Verrucae (Warts)
• Increase risk of developing cancers (Cervix, penis, vagina, anus and throat)
• Linked to raise in risk of Cardiovascular disease
• HPV strains 16 & 18 cause cervical cancer and raise risk of throat cancer.
• More than 30 types of HPV infect the genital area causing genital warts or infection of the skin not visible to the eye (subclinical infection).
Although, in majority of cases young females are not infected for long and there are no long-term consequences. In fact, over 70% of young female infections clear up within 12 months.
HPV is linked to many types of cancer including cervical, although very few people with HPV develop cancer. This is because some HPV types can alter the structure of cells in the body, which eventually can become cancerous. Cervical cancer can be prevented by HPV vaccination. There are a few treatments for visible external warts except the vaccination cannot be used as it is a preventative not a cure.
Genital HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease and you may be infected with more than one HPV type at the same time. HPV is spread by sexual activity and it is also possible to be transmitted by an object that may carry infectious mater...
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...accinated are susceptible to infection. Vaccination of women provides some protection from HPV infection for men who have sex with women. The vaccines effectiveness can be witnessed through trials which suggest almost 100% efficiency in the prevention of HPV types 16 and 18 related pre-cancers which cause 70% of cervical cancers. Globally, cervical cancer killed approximately 253,000 women in 2008, if they had been vaccinated hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved.
The immunisation programme started in 2008 for girls born in 1990 and 1991; New Zealand was slow in starting its programme considering Australia started a whole year earlier. A point of discussion regarding the vaccine is whether boys should receive it or not. Interestingly, Australia began vaccinating boys in 2013 and many health professionals believe New Zealand should follow their lead.
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