It affects 80% of women between the age of 15 and 50
Watch this video on Youtube: CBS The Early Show - Oct 25 2011
What is HPV?
Human Papillomavirus, more commonly known as HPV, is a viral infection spread through skin to skin sexual contact. HPV is a group of over 100 different viruses, with at least 30 strains known to cause different types of cancer. According to the medical community there is currently no cure for HPV.
Why do we write about this virus today?
First of all, if this HPV virus affects 80% of women don't you think we should try to offer some hope?
The large study, conducted on nearly 2,500 women and published recently in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that those who had been exposed to HPV were more than twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who hadn't.
Prevention magazine Contributing Editor Dr. Holly Phillips said on "The Early Show," "What makes it particularly powerful is that these women were more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, even if they didn't have traditional risk factors for the illnesses, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol or obesity. The virus itself seemed to raise their risk."
However, Phillips stressed that the study doesn't make a direct connection between HPV and heart disease.
"We can't say directly that the virus causes heart attacks. But we can see a link," Phillips said. "It may have to do with actually a gene called p53. This gene helps to protect our bodies against cancer and heart disease, and the virus seems to inactivate it, and that seems to raise our risk for both."
How Can You Get HPV?
HPV is widespread among men. An international study published in March in The Lancet found that half of all adult males in the United States may be infected with the virus. More than 40 strains of HPV exist, and all are passed along by skin-to-skin contact, usually during sexual relations, according to the CDC.
The most well-known strain of HPV causes genital warts. But other strains show no obvious symptoms and clear up on their own with no medical treatment, Dr. Jean Bonhomme, an assistant professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, told HealthDay.
"Because it normally causes no symptoms, men and women can get it and pass it on without even knowing they have it," Bonhomme said.
Since the virus spreads through skin contact, normal protections that prevent the spread of disease through body fluids won't work, Bonhomme said. "Diseases like herpes and HPV cannot be completely prevented by condoms because they are both spread by contact with skin," Bonhomme said. "If the virus comes into contact with the scrotum or thighs, you can still be infected."Symptoms of HPV
Symptoms of HPV normally appear in the form a cauliflower like growths called genital warts. These warts may also be flat. They can be found on the inside and the outside of the vagina. These growths may take weeks or even years to show after having sex with an infected partner. Again, they may not show at all.
How Do I Know If I Have HPV?
An HPV test can be done to determine if a person has HPV. Testing samples of cervical cells is an effective way to identify high-risk types of HPVs that may be present. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an HPV test that can identify 13 of the high-risk types of HPVs associated with the development of cervical cancer.
There is currently no test to determine if a man has HPV.
Abstaining from any type of sexual relations is ideal in preventing HPV, but not very realistic these days for adults. The male condom provides limited protection. Keep in mind that since HPV may not show any visible symptoms, your partner may still be infected.
HPV is a Risk Factor For Cervical Cancer
Having many sexual partners is a risk factor for HPV infection. Although most HPV infections go away on their own without causing any type of abnormality, infection with high-risk HPV types increases the chance that mild abnormalities will progress to more severe abnormalities to cervical cancer.
Still, of the women who do develop abnormal cell changes with high-risk types of HPVs, only a small percentage would develop cervical cancer if the abnormal cells were not removed. Studies suggest that whether a woman develops cervical cancer depends on a variety of factors acting together with high-risk HPVs. The factors that may increase the risk of cervical cancer in women with HPV infection include smoking and having many children.
A new study indicates that HPV infections are far more widespread than researchers suspected. NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman discusses.
One in four U.S. women ages 14 to 59 is infected with the sexually transmitted virus that in some forms can cause cervical cancer, according to the first broad national estimate.
The figure is mostly in line with previous assessments. The highest prevalence ”nearly 45 percent” was found in young women within the age range recommended for a new virus-fighting vaccine, according to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers have estimated that 20 million Americans have some form of HPV. The study concluded that 26.8 percent of U.S. women are infected, a figure that is comparable to earlier estimates using smaller groups.
We expected the prevalence of any HPV infection would be high and that's what we found, said CDC researcher Dr. Eileen Dunne, the study's lead author.And now this...
New Study Proposes Possible Causative Role for HPV in Atherosclerosis
Hus-Ko Kuo and Ken Fujise speculated that HPV may be a risk factor for CVD because it inactivates the tumor-suppressor protein p53, which plays a regulatory role in atherosclerosis. They analyzed data from 2,450 women aged 20 to 59, 60 of whom said they had coronary artery disease. 46.6% of all the women were HPV positive, as assessed by a DNA analysis of self-collected vaginal swab specimens.
Among the women with CVD, 39 were HPV positive while 21 were negative. After adjusting for age and race, the investigators found that HPV elevated the risk of CVD by two-and-a-half times. This increase remained significant when other risk factors were also included in the analysis. Women with cancer-associated HPV types had an even higher risk elevation.
The authors write that to the best of their knowledge there has been "no previous report on the association between HPV and CVD."
The article is accompanied by an editorial written by Joseph Muhlestein, who more than a decade ago first proposed that a different infectious agent, Chlamydia pneumoniae, might play a causative role in CVD. He writes that the present article adds another important infectious candidate to the list of agents associated with the development, progression, or destabilization of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. This finding re-emphasizes the potential roles that a variety of chronic infectious agents may play in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Despite setbacks experienced in a number of clinical trials designed to treat patients based on the infectious hypothesis, it still lives on, and slowly, progress is being made.
In the end, he concludes, the infectious hypothesis of atherosclerosis may still pan out.
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