The Human papillomavirus comes from the family Papovaviridae, genus papillomavirus and it has over more than 100 strains. HPV gets its name because of the papillomas, more commonly known as warts, that it causes. It was first discovered in the 1970s when Harald zur Hausen, a German, virologist, identified HPV in warts and cervical cancer. He then isolated and cloned different strains of HPV.  It is considered a deadly disease because certain strains can lead to cancers such as but not limited to cervical, anal, and oropharyngeal. At the moment, HPV is the most common STI in the United States.

In fact, it is so common, that by the age 25 those who are sexually active would have already been infected. The viral infection is most prevalent among sexually active individuals usually between the ages of 17 to 25 years. There is a higher risk to those of younger age, weak immune systems, individuals with broken skin, and people with a high number of sexual partners.  HPV’s mode of transmission is through skin to skin contact. The most common way that the infection spreads is through vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse with someone who has the virus.

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Symptoms include papillomas, genital warts, oral lesions, and genital lesions.  An unusual fact is that just because a person is infected with HPV doesn’t mean that they will get ill. This occurs because most of the time the infection will clear up on its own, therefore no treatment is needed. However, if symptoms do occur, warts can be treated with a prescription medication. There are a number of different precautions that can be taken to avoid HPV as much as possible. These include a person practicing abstinence, monogamous relationships, and latex condoms. Gardisil 9 (HPV9) is a vaccine that is available for both girls and boys starting at the age 11 or 12 years. If adults did not receive the vaccine when they were younger, then the vaccine is recommended to men up to the age of 21 years and to women up to the age of 26 years.