Q:

What are some treatment options for human papillomavirus?

A:

Quick Answer

There is no cure or treatment for the human papillomavirus itself, according to the Cleveland Clinic. However, the genital warts sometimes caused by the virus can be removed with prescription creams, laser therapy, liquid nitrogen or electrocautery. In women, abnormal cervical cells can be removed through electrosurgery.

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Full Answer

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a sexually transmitted infection spread by intimate skin contact, as explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, and it has few symptoms. Most of the time, the body is able to clear itself of the infection without lasting consequences. However, in some individuals, HPV can cause genital warts and cervical cancer. It is also associated with cancers of the vulva, penis, anus and throat.

Risk factors for HPV include age, with younger people the most susceptible, according to Mayo Clinic. Other risk factors include a greater number of sexual partners, a weakened immune system, damaged skin and close personal contact without adequate protective barriers.

Using a condom with each act of sexual intercourse can help prevent the spread of HPV, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Those individuals with genital warts shouldn't have sex until the warts are removed. There is also a vaccine available for girls and boys, ages 9 through 26. The vaccine requires 3 shots. The second and third injections are given two months and six months after the first injection.

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