Sign of HPV
Most often people do not have any sign of HPV infection because immune defense of the body is strong enough to suppress the activity of the virus. The symptoms of HPV are more likely to occur when the infected person has problems with immunity. In this case, viral particles accumulate in some area of the skin or mucosa and change the functions of epithelial cells. As a result, cells begin to divide abnormally and proliferate out of control, and there appear epithelial growths which present as typical symptoms and signs of HPV.
A common sign of HPV infection is the presence of warts. Warts are benign tumors which appear on different parts of the body and may vary in shape, size and color. Warts, as well as other viral-induced skin lesions, tend to grow relatively fast and may spread from initial sites to other areas of the body. In most cases they are not dangerous for human health, but they are visually unpleasant and may cause psychological and cosmetic discomfort.
A sign of HPV infection on genital organs is one of the most frequent causes of concern among HPV-infected people. Genital HPV infection is considered to be one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections in the world. In the majority of cases genital HPV infection is associated with genital warts called condylomas that may occur on the lips of the vulva, inside the vagina, on the cervix, on the penis, by the urethral opening and around the anus.
It was found out that a great number of women with an external sign of HPV on the vulva or in the perianal area also have additional sites of HPV infection in the vagina or on the cervix. Some of them develop HPV-associated cervical dysplasia, a precancerous condition. Cervical dysplasia, especially its severe forms, is a precursor of cervical cancer and all women infected by HPV are considered to be at an increased risk of cervical cancer.
There are different tests available to detect HPV infection, even if the patient has no obvious symptoms. Due to a close association between HPV and cervical cancer, much attention is devoted to an early detection of HPV and HPV-induced lesions in women, especially on the cervix, in order to prevent the development of cancer. The main diagnostic procedures able to reveal a sign of HPV infection on the cervix are Pap smear and colposcopy.