What is HPV and How is it Contracted

Dr. Linda Jando, BSc., MD, CCFP, Family Physician, discusses HPV and how it is contracted.

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Dr. Linda Jando, BSc., MD, CCFP, Family Physician, discusses HPV and how it is contracted.
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Dr. Linda Jando, BSc., MD, CCFP, Family Physician, discusses HPV and how it is contracted.

HPV is human papillomavirus. It’s a viral infection of the skin. Typically most people know it as a wart.

However, the tricky thing about HPV is it can cause microscopic changes that aren’t visible to the eye, so the skin may appear normal and there might be changes going on inside your cells.

So HPV is commonly known to be a sexually transmitted infection, but it can also be transmitted through contact of infected skin, such as hand warts and shaking hands, or plantar warts, which commonly get picked up at places like swimming pools.

Unfortunately, HPV may not present with any symptoms for years after the exposure to the infected person, making it nearly impossible to figure out who and when you got infected with HPV.

There are many treatment options for HPV, and you should discuss this with your doctor. Treatments may include cryotherapy, chemical ablative therapies applies by your doctor, or there is a prescription medication cream that you can do on your own at home.

Probably the most severe problem with HPV is it’s linked to cancer, and specifically there are some strains in, that are linked to cervical and anal cancers. These have in more recent years been developed into a vaccine so that we can prevent some of these strains from being transmitted to people, and reducing the risk of cancer.

Remember, there are many strains of HPV and many ways it can present, so if you have any questions, please contact your family doctor.

Presenter: Dr. Linda Jando, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.