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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

HPV Infection Affects Your Skin Learn More About Them

Human papilloma virus or HPV vaccine is a virus that is known to cause various sexually transmitted diseases and skin or mucous membrane growth. There are more than a 100 different strains or types of HPV including approximately 30 to 40 strains that infect the human genital tract. Some strains are considered high-risk strains which are oncogenic and may cause cancers of cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers. While some low-risk strains of HPV are linked with genital warts.

HPV Vaccine can help protect against various strains of HPV which are most likely to cause genital warts or cervical cancer.

HPV infection and your Skin


Skin warts, Credits: pixabay

HPV virus in most cases is defeated by our body’s own immune system. But in cases where our body fails to fight this virus, it creates warts. The appearance of warts may vary from person to person. Let’s see how an HPV infection can affect your skin.

Genital warts: Persistent HPV infection is strongly associated with the risk of genital warts which appear as small, flat cauliflower-like lesions. It may cause discomfort, pain and itching. Women are likely to experience these warts near the vulva, anus, or cervix region in the vagina. Whereas in males HPV infects the area of penis and scrotum.

Transmission of genital warts can be prevented by using condoms and limiting the number of sexual partners.

Common warts: Common warts occur on the hands and fingers which appear as rough, raised bumps. They can be painful and susceptible to injury or bleeding. Even though it’s difficult to prevent the spread of common warts, one can try to avoid its spread by not picking up one or biting your nails.

Plantar warts: Plantar warts are usually seen on the heels or balls of your feet which appear as hard, grainy growths and might cause discomfort. Wearing shoes in public places or pools can help prevent this type of warts.

Flat warts: Flat warts are slightly raised lesions and can appear anywhere on the face, beard or legs.

Tree-man syndrome or tree-like warts: This results due to the inability of a person’s immune system to fight against persistent HPV infection. It usually affects the hands, face, and feet.

Cervical cancer

Cervical pain

woman suffering from cervical pain, Credits: pixabay

HPV infections are most associated with cervical cancers. But the symptoms may take around 20 years to show up and undergoing regular screening tests can prevent you from getting cervical cancer. Also, getting vaccinated against HPV infection is your best protection from cervical cancer.

How does HPV infection occur and spread?

Human papillomavirus may enter your body through cuts, abrasions or small tears on your skin. It is usually transferred primarily by skin-skin contact. Genital warts caused by HPV are transmitted through sexual contact. In case a pregnant woman infected with HPV infection has genital warts it’s possible that the baby may also get the infection.

HPV Vaccines

HPV vaccine

HPV vaccine & it’s cost, Credits: pixabay1

Food and Drug Administration has approved three HPV vaccines. The most recent one is Gardasil 9. HPV vaccines in India are sold under brand names Cervarix and Gardasil. HPV vaccine cost for Cervarix is around 3,299 per dose whereas Gardasil costs around 2,800 per dose. Cervarix offers immunity against HPV 16 and 18 types of HPV strain. Whereas, Gardasil generates immunity against 16, 18, 11, 6.  These drugs are approved for use in males and females between the age group of 9 to 45 to protect them against cervical cancer and genital warts.

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