Kolkata: An estimated of one million-plus women worldwide are currently living with cervical cancer.Many have no access to health services for prevention, curative treatment or palliative care. Cervical cancer is a consequence of a long-term infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), and the majority of cervical cancer cases ( >80 per cent) occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract. Most sexually active women and men will be infected at some point in their lives and some may be repeatedly infected.
The peak time for acquiring infection for both women and men is shortly after becoming sexually active. HPV is sexually transmitted, but penetrative sex is not required for transmission. Skin-to-skin genital contact is a well-recognized mode of transmission.
There are many types of HPV, and many do not cause problems. HPV infections usually clear up without any intervention within a few months after acquisition, and about 90 per cent clear within 2 years. A small proportion of infections with certain types of HPV can persist and progress to cancer.
Cervical cancer is by far the most common HPV-related disease. Nearly all cases of cervical cancer can be attributable to HPV infection.Though data on anogenital cancers other than cancer of the cervix are limited, there is an increasing body of evidence linking HPV with cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina, and penis. Although these cancers are less frequent than cancer of the cervix, their association with HPV make them potentially preventable using similar primary prevention strategies as those for cervical cancer.
Non-cancer causing types of HPV (especially types 6 and 11) can cause genital warts and respiratory papillomatosis (a disease in which tumours grow in the air passages leading from the nose and mouth into the lungs). Although these conditions very rarely result in death, they may cause significant occurrence of disease. Genital warts are very common and highly infectious.(UNI)