Question:

Can the HPV virus that causes warts be dormant for a long time?

Answer:

The HPV virus can lie dormant for decades. Testing negative for HPV only means that there is no detectable virus at that time.

More Info:

Biology

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a DNA virus from the papillomavirus family that is capable of infecting humans. Like all papillomaviruses, HPVs establish productive infections only in keratinocytes of the skin or mucous membranes. While the majority of the known types of HPV cause no symptoms in most people, some types can cause warts (verrucae), while others can—in a minority of cases—lead to cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, oropharynx and anus. Recently, HPV has been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, HPV 16 and 18 infections are strongly associated with an increased odds ratio of developing oropharyngeal (throat) cancer.

More than 30 to 40 types of HPV are typically transmitted through sexual contact and infect the anogenital region. Some sexually transmitted HPV types may cause genital warts. Persistent infection with "high-risk" HPV types—different from the ones that cause skin warts—may progress to precancerous lesions and invasive cancer. HPV infection is a cause of nearly all cases of cervical cancer. However, most infections do not cause disease.

Wart

The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine prevents infection with certain species of human papillomavirus associated with the development of cervical cancer, genital warts, and some less common cancers. Two HPV vaccines are currently on the market: Gardasil and Cervarix.

Both vaccines protect against the two HPV types (HPV-16 and HPV-18) that cause 70% of cervical cancers, 80% of anal cancers, 60% of vaginal cancers, and 40% of vulvar cancers. These HPV types also cause most HPV induced oral cancers, and some other rare genital cancers. Gardasil also protects against the two HPV types (HPV-6 and HPV-11) that cause 90% of genital warts.

Genital warts (or condylomata acuminata, venereal warts, anal warts and anogenital warts) are symptoms of a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease caused by some types of human papillomavirus (HPV). It is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact, usually during oral, genital, or anal sex with an infected partner. Warts are the most easily recognized symptom of genital HPV infection. Although some types of HPV are known to cause cervical cancer and anal cancers, these are not the same types of HPV that cause genital warts. Although 90% of those who contract HPV will not develop genital warts, those infected can still transmit the virus. Although estimates of incidence vary between studies, HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active people will get it at some point in their lives.

HPV types 6 and 11 are most frequently the cause of genital warts. The Gardasil vaccine includes coverage for these types. While types 6 and 11 are considered low risk for progression to cancers, it is also possible to be infected with different varieties of HPV, such as a low-risk HPV that causes warts and a high-risk HPV, either at the same or different times.

Papillomavirus Medicine Microbiology Environment
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