Most people with HPV do not know they have the infection. They never develop symptoms or health problems from it. Some people find out they have HPV when they get genital warts. Women may find out they have HPV when they get an abnormal Pap test result (during cervical cancer screening).
When the body's immune system can't get rid of an HPV infection with oncogenic HPV types, it can linger over time and turn normal cells into abnormal cells and then cancer. About 10% of women with HPV infection on their cervix will develop long-lasting HPV infections that put them at risk for cervical cancer.
Most people with HPV do not experience symptoms. However, some types of HPV cause warts or bumps on the skin. They may occur in or around the genitals, anus, tongue, mouth, or lips. Sometimes, HPV also causes warts on other areas of skin, such as the hands or feet.
When left untreated, many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can lead to infertility. However, HPV shouldn't affect your ability to conceive. Although you may have heard that HPV can lead to fertility problems, that's generally not the case. Some strains of HPV can increase the risk of cervical cancer.
Women who have or have had HPV — the human papilloma virus — have successful pregnancies and their babies are not harmed by their HPV infections. HPV is a very common sexually transmitted infection that affects millions of women and men around the world.
This finding suggests that HPV infection may be activated by hormonal or other effects of pregnancy and may explain why number of pregnancies is known to be associated with increased risk of cervical dysplasia and cancer.
High-risk HPV doesn't have symptoms
Unfortunately, most people who have a high-risk type of HPV will never show any signs of the infection until it's already caused serious health problems. That's why regular checkups are so important — testing is the only way to know for sure if you're at risk for cancer from HPV.
– there's no evidence that HPV has triggers like herpes or asthma that cause flare ups, but many believe that a weakened immune system can lead to outbreaks being more likely. Genital warts are more likely to flare-up if your immune system is not able to effectively fight the HPV infection causing them to appear.
The HPV test looks for cervical infection by high-risk types of HPV that are more likely to cause pre-cancers and cancers of the cervix. The test can be done by itself or at the same time as the Pap test (called a co-test) (with the same swab or a second swab), to determine your risk of developing cervical cancer.
Around 90% of HPV infections clear within 2 years. For a small number of women and people with a cervix, their immune system will not be able to get rid of HPV. This is called a persistent infection. A persistent HPV infection causes the cells of the cervix to change.
HPV Very Rarely Becomes Cervical Cancer
For 90 percent of women with HPV, the condition will clear up on its own within two years. Only a small number of women who have one of the HPV strains that cause cervical cancer will ever actually develop the disease.
If you got a positive HPV test and your Pap test was abnormal, your doctor will probably follow up with a colposcopy. Try to see a physician who specializes in this procedure. During a colposcopy, your doctor will look more closely at the cervix, vagina or vulva with a special microscope called a colposcope.
A Pap test screens for cancer of the cervix (the passageway between the vagina and the uterus). A Pap test can also be used to screen for non-visible (subclinical) human papilloma virus (HPV) infection. The Pap test is not a specific test for HPV, although sometimes the results suggest that HPV might be present.
Q: How long after exposure does it usually take for something to be detectable? A: Changes consistent with HPV can usually be detected within 3-6 months after exposure to the infection.
Several factors are important for the regression of HPV manifestation/infection, among which is psychological stress which can prolong the duration and severity of HPV disease. Stress hormones may reactivate latent tumor viruses, stimulate viral oncogene expression, and inhibit antiviral host responses.
HPV16 and HPV18 are the most common cancer-causing HPV subtypes on a global scale. Simultaneously, HPV16, HPV18, and HPV33 have been confirmed to be correlated with tumors in digestive system, such as oral cancer, esophageal cancer, and colorectal cancer.
HPV-related cancers often take years to develop after getting an HPV infection. Cervical cancer usually develops over 10 or more years. There can be a long interval between being infected with HPV, the development of abnormal cells on the cervix and the development of cervical cancer.
Anyone who has had sex can get HPV, even if it was only with only one person, but infections are more likely in people who have had many sex partners. Even if a person delays sexual activity until marriage, or only has one partner, they are still at risk of HPV infection if their partner has been exposed.
HPV spreads through sexual contact and is very common in young people — frequently, the test results will be positive. However, HPV infections often clear on their own within a year or two. Cervical changes that lead to cancer usually take several years — often 10 years or more — to develop.
In general, HPV isn't seen as a high risk to pregnancy. It isn't known to cause any intrauterine problems. The potential for HPV transmission to a fetus during vaginal birth is low. Vaginal birth is usually encouraged over cesarean unless the patient has large condyloma, or genital warts, from the HPV.
Women with HPV are also more than twice as likely to experience a miscarriage or stillbirth. “There are no treatments to eliminate HPV,” said senior study author Helen Trottier of the University of Montreal.