Low risk HPV
People infected by low risk HPV types usually don't develop very dangerous conditions. HPV infection usually affects epithelial layers and it is able to induce changes in epithelial cells. More than 100 types of HPV have been identified and described. Some of these types have been found to be associated with cervical cancer. These types are classified as high risk HPV types. Other types, categorized as low risk HPV types, are usually detected in benign cutaneous and mucosal growths – papillomas and condylomas.
Papillomas and condyloma, which are commonly known as warts, may appear on different parts of the body. They usually provoke psychological and cosmetic discomfort. Warts are caused by low risk HPV types and do not progress to cancerous lesions. At the same time, an infection with both low risk and high risk HPV types increases the risk of cancer much more significantly than an infection with only high risk types. If HPV infection is suspected it is very important to identify the present HPV types because it provides the possibility to assess the risk for the development of malignant lesions.
Warts often occur if the HPV-infected person has some problems with immune system. One of the features of HPV infection is that it can escape the immune surveillance and persist in the body for a long period. When the immune system is weakened by some factors, low risk HPV type infection develops and causes warts. But warts may also disappear because the body develops the immunity to the present HPV types, though it may take several months or years.
The treatment options for external lesions induced by low risk HPV types include destructive methods and pharmacotherapy. The most effective destructive methods are cryotherapy (freezing), electro-coagulation (burning), electrosurgical excision (warts are removed by a high-frequency electric surgical knife), and laser therapy (warts are destroyed by laser). The use of drugs for HPV-induced lesions may be directed to eliminate infected cells or stimulate local immunity to suppress the infection.
The treatment of HPV-related lesions may be difficult and long-drawn-out. Warts may reoccur because the virus remains in the body even when external lesions are removed. Modern methods are not able to destroy viral particles directly. Only the immune system can recognize and eliminate the viruses from the body. Thus, strengthening the immune system, one fosters the treatment of lesions associated with high risk or low risk HPV types.