Human Papillomavirus (HPV)


Definition - What does Human Papillomavirus (HPV) mean?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a class of multiple infectious viruses that individuals can contract through sexual activity, carrying the etiological implications of developing warts and, in severe cases, cancer that affects the membranous lining of the genitourinary organs and the soft tissue palate of the oropharyngeal cavity (i.e., mouth, throat). HPV types fall into two main categories including low-risk HPVs and high-risk HPVs.

WorkplaceTesting explains Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

The comorbidity factors of HPV viruses can compromise squamous cells that form the surface lining of the genitourinary region and oropharyngeal cavity where infected individuals become susceptible to distinct pathological conditions including anal cancer, cervical cancer, penile cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, vaginal cancer, and vulvar cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), early treatment with vaccinations is a mainstay in preventing HPV infectious diseases and targeting precancerous cells before they metastasize into cancer. Given the proportionate rate of HPV infections causing genitourinary and oropharyngeal cancer, consistent screening to monitor intracellular changes is vital, provided the absence of physiological symptoms.

CDC guidelines for administering HPV vaccines state that they are recommended during childhood and into early adulthood, serving as an effective preventative against new HPV infections. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes exclusive screening procedures for cervical cancer, as it is a high HPV risk, bolstered by medical studies that illustrate the dormant nature of precancerous cells which can take decades to turn malignant. Furthermore, mounting evidence indicates that same-sex partner demographics can benefit from auxiliary modalities (i.e., anal pap smear) to identify precancerous cells to curb the morbidity rate.

Because of the epidemiological consequences that accompany HPV infections, workplace health programs are essential resources for covering health issues connected with sexual activity. The prevalence of cervical cancer is a leading example in promoting awareness about HPV-related conditions where early treatment interventions including regular screening and vaccines are beneficial.

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