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What is HPV Human PapillomaVirus?

If you haven't heard about human papillomavirus (HPV), you're not alone. While HPV is common, many people know little or nothing about it. HPV affects both women and men. And it's a virus that doesn't always have symptoms.

v     What are the different types of HPV?

Ø      There are more than 100 types of HPV. Most of them are relatively harmless, like the ones that cause common warts found on hands and feet. For most people, the body’s own defense system will clear the virus.

Ø      About 30 types of HPV affect the genital area:

§         “High-risk” types (such as HPV Types 16 and 18) can cause cervical cancer or abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix that sometimes turn into cancer.

§         “Low-risk” types (such as HPV Types 6 and 11) can cause genital warts and benign (abnormal, but noncancerous) changes in the cervix.

v     All types of genital HPV can cause abnormal Pap tests. And a person can have more than one type of HPV.

All of this might seem a bit complicated, so there is one simple thing to remember: if you have any questions or concerns, speak with your doctor. Talking with your doctor is the best way for you to get the right answers.

Also, see Wikipedia on HPV


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