HPV, short for Human Papillomavirus, is an epitheliotropic virus that infects human skin and mucous membrane epithelial cells. It can cause various wart-like or papillary growths on human skin and mucous membranes, as well as proliferative lesions in the genital tract, closely associated with conditions such as genital warts and cervical cancer.
In clinical practice, HPV can be categorized into two main types based on the degree of pathogenicity: low-risk HPV and high-risk HPV. Low-risk HPV (mainly including HPV types 6, 11, 30, 39, 42, 43, 44) causes explicitly external genital warts in both men and women, as well as genital warts in women's labia minora, urethral openings, and the lower part of the vagina. High-risk HPV (mainly including HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 61) not only causes genital warts but can also lead to genital tract cancers, cervical cancer, and cervical epithelial lesions.
How Does HPV Spread?
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted pathogens, infecting men and women.
Sex is the primary mode of transmission. It enters the female cervix through the vagina from the outside. If there happens to be a tiny wound on the cervix, even if it's not visible to the naked eye, the virus can infiltrate and infect the cervical epithelium.
Through contact with contaminated objects like unclean toilets, hotel sheets, towels, toiletries, etc., the virus can be transmitted through skin contact with the personal belongings of an infected individual, significantly when the person's immune system is compromised.
HPV can also be vertically transmitted, commonly occurring when a mother infected with genital HPV during childbirth passes the infection to her newborn.
What to Do If You Have HPV Infection?
The lifetime risk of HPV infection for women is as high as 80%, but most conditions are transient and don't require excessive concern. Moreover, over 90% of infections naturally clear within two years due to the body's immune response. Only 5%~10% progress to persistent infection and 2%~3% of infections eventually develop into cervical cancer.
In other words, high-risk HPV and persistent infection are the real culprits behind cervical cancer!
When HPV attacks cervical cells during two consecutive follow-ups at intervals of 4-6 months or 6-12 months, if the same type of HPV is detected in cervical HPV tests for the same patient, it is called persistent infection of that type. If two classes are seen at different times, it is not considered a persistent infection.
The journey from HPV infection to cervical cancer involves four stages: high-risk HPV persistent infection, cervical low-grade intraepithelial lesion (LSIL), cervical high-grade intraepithelial lesion (CIN II/ CIN III), invasive cervical cancer. This lengthy process of gradual change, from quantitative to qualitative, takes several years to even decades.
Due to the long incubation period of HPV in the body and the absence of any symptoms, incorporating HPV gene testing into routine gynecological examinations is crucial for preventing and treating cervical cancer.
Even if you've been infected with a specific type of HPV and have cleared it, there's still a chance of being infected with other types of HPV. Even with the same HPV, the body's antibodies are relatively low, making reinfection possible. If the uterus is removed, the vaginal mucosa cells can also be infected with HPV. So, HPV is a constant battle of resistance with the human body - when you're strong, it's weak, and when you're weak, it's vital.
Understanding these facts can help you avoid recurrent or persistent HPV infections. Remember, cervical cancer is currently the only cancer that can be prevented.
The Importance of HPV Gene Testing
Many high-risk diseases can now be prevented and detected early through scientific means, and HPV gene testing is one such method. It can be used to check whether the human body carries the HPV virus through gene testing. By using HPV gene testing, HPV virus infection can be detected early, allowing for early treatment and helping to predict cervical cancer.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Genotyping Detection Kit (Microarray)
The kit uses microarray chip technology to simultaneously detect HPV DNA in human cervical epithelial cells and perform genotyping, testing for 22 genotypess at once. This testing is a molecular-level detection from the perspective of etiology. It has extremely high sensitivity and negative predictive value, indicating the risk of cervical cancer and providing timely intervention and treatment, effectively preventing cervical cancer progression. It is widely used in cervical cancer screening.
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