Human Papilloma Virus. HPV. A Little Virus With A Big Punch.
By now, in the age of internet education, many people are aware of HPV, also known as the human papilloma virus. Yes, it is a virus. A virus is nothing more than a short chain of DNA or RNA, surrounded by a protein jacket and sometimes an envelope of fat, or lipid. It is 1/100th the length of a bacterium. But is can pack a huge punch. A virus is an infectious agent.
In large cities such as Los Angeles, where humans are in close contact with each other, the virus spreads easily. And this is true for the human papilloma virus. Hand-to-hand, hand-to-mouth and through inhalation into our respiratory tract, the virus travels, infects our cells, multiplies and causes illness. And, HPV can spread via the sexual route. Ask the proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon. HPV related diseases are a common malady in the proctologist’s office. And, a chronic infection with HPV can lead to the development of anal or cervical cancer.
Who Is At Risk?
Everyone is at risk. The better question is: How are we at risk? The answer, beyond simply walking out of our front door and into the daily world has several answers.
Higher risk groups include:
- All of us. Simple human contact (especially unwittingly), can spread the virus. Think of plantar warts (warts on the feet). If you have one, you most likely have no idea how you got it.
- People with areas of weakened or punctured skin can contact and contract the warts through normal daily exposure. And remember, the HPV virus is everywhere, even on our normal skin. A skin break may introduce the virus.
- Adolescents and young people, especially those beginning puberty and sexual activity.
- People with weakened immune systems. The weakened state may be due to HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS medications (HAART) and certain immunosuppressant drugs given following transplants or during the treatment for cancer.
- Those with a large number of sexual partners. Even with a normal immune system, skin abrasion during certain sexual activities can lead to the direct transmission of HPV.
The Take Home Lesson.
Be careful. Be vigilant. Be smart. Simple precautions can be well worth the effort. Safe sex is the best known precaution. However, safe sex is not always so safe. Condoms fail (rarely) or bodily secretions can escape around the base of the condom. Avoidance. If you know that a partner has an active HPV infection, think long and hard about the type of contact you may have. Beyond that, be thoughtful even in non-sexual circumstances when around people with known or visible disease.
Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates
The board certified surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates are knowledgeable about HPV and related issues. By scheduling an appointment at (310)273-2310, you will be able to be examined, ask questions and be treated if need be. Understanding and education are important is all aspects of your health. Get examined today.