Human Papilloma Virus


About Human Papilloma Virus

What is Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)?

HPV is a common virus which causes a sexually transmitted disease associated with cervical dysplasia (pre-cancerous condition of cervix) and warts. Types 16 and 18, what we call high risk strains have been associated with development of cervical cancer in females. Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer in females worldwide. In the past, prevention efforts had been focused on screening with PAP smear and early intervention which has dramatically reduced the rates of cancer deaths. It has been estimated that 50% of sexually active females will be infected with HPV during their lifetime.

Why should I take the HPV vaccination?

It is a recombinant viral vaccine which protects against infection with HPV types 16 and 18. It is indicated in girls and women age between 9 and 26 years of age for the prevention of cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancer, pre-malignant genital lesions and genital warts causally related to HPV types contained in the vaccine. Currently, there are 2 vaccines available Gardasil (against types 6,11,16,18) and Cervarix (against types 16,18).

It is a 3-dose course:

  1. 1st  dose (at elected date)
  2. 2nd dose (at 1-2 months after the first dose)
  3. 3rd dose (at 6 months after the first dose)

Caution: It should be stated that although the majority of cervical cancer is related to HPV, vaccination does not replace the need for regular PAP smear which should be continued.

Points to Note:

Laboratory diagnostic tests are not perfect and are not 100% accurate

  • We do not have a test for every disease or virus but most of those pathogens that are of public health importance or have long term implications on your health can be tested
  • No one single test can be used with absolute certainty to diagnose a disease. Often, we depend on a combination of tests to make a diagnosis
  • Sometimes, we have to resort to trial treatment or empiric treatment if investigative tests are inconclusive. If the patient makes a therapeutic response and feels better, we have achieved our goal
  • In PUO, we are looking for treatable causes and to rule out sinister causes eg. malignancies so that we do not miss opportunities for early treatment or intervention

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