HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus, which infects the epithelial cells of the skin and mucous membranes.
That’s a lot of technical jargon, so let’s break it down.
A papilloma. is an lesion that has finger like projections. Some think they look like cauliflowers. A type of papilloma caused by HPV is genital warts, which are also called condylomas.
Epithelial cells are protective cells that reside on the surface of the skin as well as the mucous membranes such as your gut, intestine and mouth. Think of the inside of your mouth for a moment. That wet cavity of your mouth is called the mucous membrane and it has epithelial cells.
That’s one of the places HPV can live and multiply, potentially creating papillomas.
There are different types of HPV, approximately 40 types. The genital type is spread through sexual intercourse and can infect the cervix, anus, vagina and vulva. In rare instances, the mouth, pharynx and larynx can also be infected with HPV lesions. Not all types of HPV are carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, and that’s why it may be a good idea to have an HPV Test done so that your doctor can understand which type you have.
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