Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is caused by a large group of viruses and affects the skin and the mucous membranes. Infections of the genital area are common and highly contagious, in fact, it is considered to be the most common sexually transmitted infection worldwide. The resulting infections from HPV can cause genital warts and cervical cancer.

  • Symptoms: Most people infected with HPV are asymptomatic that is they have no symptoms and many never develop any health problems as a result of the virus. Infections are discovered if anogenital warts develop and then by subsequent screening. In others, screening procedures such as the cervical smear test can confirm the presence of the infection. In an otherwise healthy individual, it can take years for cervical cancer to develop. When anogenital warts ( Condylomata acuminata) occur they occur externally on the foreskin, glans penis, penile shaft, scrotum, perineum, anus and vulva. Internally warts can appear on the pharynx, intravaginally on the cervix or on the anus. Warts may appear singly or in multiples, they can be raised or flat or cauliflower in appearance. The colours of warts can also vary from hyperpigmented skin, erythematous (reddening) to normal skin tone.​
  • Transmission: Most cases are spread through sexual intercourse and skin to skin contact of the genital areas. As an infected person may have no symptoms, it can be impossible to know when the infection was caught.
  • Incubation period: It is impossible to state an exact incubation period for HPV as symptoms, such as genital warts, may take months or years to develop while many people remain symptomless for years.
  • Diagnosis: Usually diagnosis is visual. Women can be screened with Pap testing (cervical cytology) for early detection of precancerous lesions. There is no blood test for HPV. Currently, there is no equivalent to the Pap test for men.


Genital HPV is sexually transmitted and incidence can be reduced by limiting high-risk sexual exposures. A condom should be worn to help prevent transmission. A vaccine, Gardasil is available to help prevent type-specific HPV-infection.


There is no treatment for the virus itself but warts usually respond to non-specific treatment such as freezing, curettage and podophyllin ointment. Women are advised to attend for routine cervical screening in order to detect any precancerous cells early. There is no reliable test for HPV in men at the current time.

Hepatitis B Vaccinations for Key Workers

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Giving Vaccine To Woman

Vaccination Options