Symptoms, signs and complications of Human Papilloma Virus

Symptoms may only develop years after a person first acquired the virus. Initially someone may have the virus and be able to infect other people, but be unaware that they have it because they have no symptoms of disease. Human Papilloma Virus is more likely to cause severe symptoms and signs in people who have a lowered immune system like in people with HIV.

  • Asymptomatic
    Most people who are infected with the human papilloma virus do not have any symptoms and they may never develop any symptoms of disease.
  • verruca

    Verruca (latin “verrucae”)

  • Verrucae (warts)
    Warts are hard skin growths which feel rough to touch. They are usually small and mostly occur on the fingers and hands but can occur anywhere on the body. Warts sometimes have tiny, black dots on them which are small blood vessels. Human Papilloma virus causes skin warts and genital warts but skin warts are caused by a different strain of HPV. Someone who is infected with the strain of HPV which causes skin warts cannot develop genital warts from this specific strain.


    Genital warts

  • Genital Warts
    Specific Strains of Human Papilloma virus can cause genital warts. Genital warts can occur around the penis, vulva, vagina and anus. About 360 000 new people develop genital warts every year in the United States alone. Non-severe and uncomplicated genital warts have a very similar appearance to warts which occur on the skin. They also appear as fleshy outgrowths of rough skin. In patients with a compromised immune system genital warts can become very large and infected.


    Cervical cancer

  • Cervical Cancer
    Human Papilloma virus plays an important role in causing cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.   According to studies there are about 529 000 new cases of cervical cancers reported each year around the world. The symptoms of cervix cancer may only become obvious when the cancer is already advanced. That is why screening tests are so important. Usually genital warts are not associated with any pain but can occasionally cause burning or itching.

  • Other Cancers
    Human Papilloma virus can also cause vaginal, penile and anal cancer. These cancers are far rarer than cervical cancer. HPV can also be a risk factor in causing cancer of the throat and tongue. This is also rare.