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Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections

The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is one of the most common viruses in the world. In Canada, it is estimated that 70% of the population will be infected at least once in their lifetime with this type of virus. HPV infection is responsible for the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in Canada. The highest infection rates are found in people aged 15 to 29 years. The virus is spread during sex, even without penetration.

HPV can be transmitted by direct contact between the skin or mucous membrane of a person and the genitals of another person infected with HPV (vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, scrotum, anus ). Kissing or touching the genitals of an infected partner can eventually lead to the transmission of HPV which could infect another part of the body (eg, mouth, tongue, throat, larynx). Most people with HPV have no symptoms and can spread the virus without knowing it. There are many types of HPV, probably over 100. Some types cause vulvar warts or plantar warts. On the other hand, more than 30 types cause anogenital infections. Among these, some can cause precancerous lesions, cervical cancer and other genital cancers such as cancer of the penis or anus. They are called carcinogenic types. The most common in North America are types 16 and 18, which cause approximately 70% of cervical cancers. Other types of HPV can cause genital warts (or warts), such as types 6 and 11, which alone are responsible for over 90% of genital warts, but they rarely cause cancer. Genital warts can be bothersome and look unsightly and cause discomfort. Most people who are infected will recover from this infection. In others, especially when it is a carcinogenic type HPV like types 16 and 18, the infection may persist and slowly progress to stages of precancerous or cancerous lesions if not detected and treated. .

It is estimated that each year in Quebec 68,000 women will have to see a specialist following an abnormal screening, that approximately 325 women will develop cervical cancer and 80 of them will die from it. Currently, the fight against cervical cancer is essentially based on screening with a Pap test.

DIN: 02342227 (Cervarix) et 02283190 (Gardasil)
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada

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