Question for Betty.

What do you give people with HPV?  I already had green tea cream and that didn't work.

Betty's Answer.

Your question of what do you give people with HPV, depends on the type of HPV and where it is located.  HPV stands for human papillomavirus, a family of more than 100 viruses, about one-third of which cause genital problems that affect both males and females.  These problems include visible genital warts and cell changes, called intraepithelial lesions, that are typically invisible to the naked eye.  The virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact, including sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or any other contact involving the genital area.  Condoms do not provide complete protection from HPV infection because they do not cover all exposed genital skin.  Most people who are infected with HPV have no signs or symptoms and clear the infection within two years, without treatment.  In 10 to 20% of people, however, the infection persists. 

Genital HPV is  the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States.  More than half of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some time in their lives.  Most HPV infections don't cause any symptoms, and can go away on their own.  But, HPV can cause cervical cancer in women, as well as cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus, and throat.

Visible genital HPV (genital warts) are treated in a variey of ways, depending on the size and location of the warts, and the areas that need to be treated.  Current treatments include cryosurgery  (freezing), imiquimod cream, podophyllin, and trichloracetic/bichloracetic acid (TCA/BCA). 

Abnormal cells on a cervix are identified initially with a Pap test, and then with High Risk HPV DNA testing, and finally with colposcopy and biopsy. Treatment of cervical lesions is based on the severity of the diagnosis, and may involve cryotherapy, laser, or loop excision. 

There are two HPV vaccines available.  Gardasil helps to prevent infection with four HPV types (6,11,16, and 18) and Cerarix prevents infection with HPV types 16 and 18.  HPV types 6 and 11 cause about 90% of genital warts, types 16 and 18 are high-risk types that cause most (about 70%) cases of cervical cancer.  Gardasil is available at the UAA Student Health & Counseling Center and is recommended for females and males up through age 26.  It requires three doses.    

If you believe that you may have genital HPV (genital warts) it is important to get checked by a health care provider for an accurate diagnosis and for treatment.  Do not use over the counter remedies sold in stores for removing warts from other parts of the body.  They won't work on genital warts, and may even be harmful.  

Thank you for your very important question, please contact your health care provider for any further questions or concerns.