Not your typical warts

Advances in medicine and science found that the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus, is not only linked to cervical cancer but to warts (genital warts in particular), vaginal and vulvar cancers as well.

Recently, I had the privilege to attend a medical symposium where warts were discussed as part of disease that comes from HPV. Doctor-experts discussed lengthily the description, differences, causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of warts.

Common warts are local growths in the skin that are found to be caused by HPV infection. They are considered to be contagious and are common among families and friends. In addition, they affect many parts of the body (such as the hands, feet, or face) and spread over time to other areas.

The more familiar types of warts are the dome-shape warts on the backs of fingers, toes, and knees. Flat warts may arise on the face, legs, and other parts of the body, often in large numbers.

Some warts can be found around or under the nail, while other warts typically appear as a single long stalk, often on the face.

According to doctors, the common warts can be annoying to anyone. But there is a growing concern on the increasing incidence of genital warts. They are flesh-colored or gray growths found in the genital area and anal region of both men and women. Genital warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6 and 11.

Doctors also cited that genital warts can affect both men and women and can occur at any age. But based on studies, most patients with genital warts are between the ages of 17-33 years. Genital warts are highly contagious. There is a 60% risk of getting the infection from a single sexual contact with someone who has genital warts.

Although genital warts are painless, they maybe bothersome because of their location, size, or due to itching. Men and women with genital warts will often complain of painless bumps, itching, and discharge.

In 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study, a nationwide study of 20,000 Filipino adolescents aged 15-27 years it was found out that age of first sex is getting younger; 1.2% of both young males and females have already engaged in sex before they turn 13 years old; and before age 18, the probability of engaging in sex increased sharply for males 28& versus 12% among females.

These alarming statistics call for preventive interventions to prevent the increasing incidence of genital warts among young men and women. Doctors cited there are there are primary and secondary prevention methods available, including HPV vaccination. Currently there are two HPV vaccine available in the market – a bivalent vaccine (can only protect against cervical cancer) and a quadrivalent vaccine (provides from cervical cancer, genital warts, vaginal cancer and vulvar cancer). The quadrivalent vaccine is called Gardasil.

Doctors urged both men and women to get protection from HPV-causing diseases that include genital warts.


source: Philippine Star
Health & Medicine