Human papillomavirus (HPV) and its effect onreproductive health is currently one of the frequently discussed problems. The danger of infection with certain types of virus for women is well known. And what are the consequences of HPV infection for men? Papillomavirus infection is considered one of the most common among people. More than 90% of adult men and women are infected with any type of HPV or several. However, most people are unaware of the infection and are clinically healthy. The virus of the papilloma is transmitted only from person to person with direct contact. The virus lives and multiplies in the epithelium (cells of integumentary tissues) of the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, genital organs. A feature of the life of the human papillomavirus is the stimulation of pathological multiplication of cells of infected tissues. As a result, there are various neoplasms of the skin and mucous membranes, including malignant ones.
Types of HPV and their basic properties
Currently, more than 120 types of HPV are known. The virus of various types causes different variants of epithelial damage: from harmless warts to the development of cancer. In this connection, 3 groups of papillomaviruses are distinguished according to the degree of oncogenic risk for the infected person.
Ways of human infection with HPV
Infection with papillomavirus occurs only whendirect contact with an infected person through the skin and mucous membranes with their microdamages. The household way of transmission is very common, since the papilloma virus persists for some time in the particles of the ejaculated epithelium. Infection with types of HPV, affecting the mucous, occurs during sexual intercourse. Therefore, these forms of papillomavirus infection are related to sexually transmitted diseases and are often combined with other similar infections (chlamydia, mycoplasmosis, trichomoniasis). The probability of infection of the human papillomavirus with a high risk increases with the increase in sexual activity and the number of sexual partners. Possible infection of HPV infants during labor with the development of laryngeal papillomatosis or anogenital warts in infants.
Signs of papillomavirus infection in men
As a rule, infection of men with even oncogenictypes of HPV does not bear such serious consequences as for women. In most cases, the infection of HPV passes absolutely asymptomatic and does not cause any painful manifestations. With a healthy immune system, human papillomavirus is often self-eliminated from the body or stored in a latent form. Infection with non-oncogenic types of the virus in some cases leads to the appearance of papillomas in areas of the skin that are prone to rubbing with clothing (axillary, inguinal areas) or flat warts on the skin of the hands. These symptoms are caused by HPV types 2, 3, 5. There may be plantar or palmar warts, which are often painful when pressure is applied to thickenings of the stratum corneum of irregularly shaped skin. They are caused by the human papillomavirus type 1 virus. The described symptoms are equally common in men and women. Infection with low-oncogenic types of the papilloma virus 6 and 11 occurs during sexual contact with the infected partner and causes the development of genital warts in the anus and genital area. This disease refers to the most frequent manifestations of papillomavirus infection in men. Its prevalence is about 1% of sexually active men according to the United States. The disease can occur after a long (more than 3 months) incubation period. The source of infection in most cases can not be established, since the virus in many people is in a latent state and does not cause painful manifestations. Pointed condylomas are skin growths on a narrow stalk, resembling cauliflower or comb in shape, usually painless. Are located at men in the field of a prepuce, a coronal furrow or an anus. Probably the location of the condylomas in the canal urethra (endourethral condylomas), usually combined with anogenital. Can cause a violation of urination and symptoms of chronic urethritis. Papillomatosis of the larynx (laryngeal), caused by the human papillomavirus 11 type, is more often observed in children under 5 years old. Usually associated with infection during childbirth. But it can occur in adults infected with oral-genital contacts. The main signs of laryngeal papillomatosis are hoarseness, soreness and swallowing. The papilloma virus of high oncogenic risk can cause men to develop penile cancer, anal cancer or throat cancer. Anogenital cancer in men infected with high-risk HPV occurs many times less frequently than women with cervical carcinoma. This is due to the anatomical features of the reproductive system. The probability of getting anogenital cancer depends on the individual sensitivity to HPV, the properties of the immune system and some other factors. For example, anal cancer is 17 times more common among men who have sex with men, as well as those infected with HIV. Common and difficult to treat forms of genital warts are also more common in HIV-infected men. Symptoms of anal cancer can be pain, itching, bleeding during defecation. Sometimes the symptoms are completely absent. Signs of cancer of the penis are thickening of the skin, a discoloration of the hearth or spot, later the formation of erosion and bleeding, an increase in lymph nodes in the groin. Malignant tumors of the pharynx and larynx can sometimes be associated with certain types of human papillomavirus, but most of these cancers are associated with smoking and other factors. Characteristic signs are constant pain in the throat, cough, change or hoarseness of the voice, violation of swallowing.
Diagnosis of papillomavirus infection
At present, there is no laboratorytest for the detection of HPV in men. For the examination of women, it is informative to detect the virus and determine its type using the polymerase chain reaction method. At laboratory diagnostics it is necessary to consider, that more than half of cases of infection has short-term character and the virus, after a while, is spontaneously eliminated from an organism. Most men infected with human papillomavirus will never have health problems associated with HPV. Pointed condylomas are diagnosed by a characteristic species at visual inspection, for the detection of endourethral condylomas in the presence of symptoms it is necessary to do urethroscopy. Since anogenital condylomas are overwhelmingly combined with other sexually transmitted infections, it is advisable to conduct appropriate studies.
Treatment of HPV infection
There are no treatments for papilloma virusesbut there are ways to cure the diseases that they cause. The main methods of treatment of warts and condylomas are surgical: scalpel removal, liquid nitrogen removal (cryodestruction), electrocoagulation, laser coagulation, chemical destruction. After a few weeks or months after removal, condylomas can recur, in this case, repeated removal is required. Surgical removal of genital warts does not reduce the risk of infection of the sexual partner, since the virus in the human body persists. Often surgical methods are combined with the use of antiviral drugs and immunostimulants, but the effectiveness of such methods has not been proven in controlled medical research. To treat anogenital cancer, surgical methods, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are used. Usually these methods are combined.
Methods of preventing papillomavirus infection
The only easily accessible means of protection fromHPV is a barrier contraceptive (condom). The method does not have high reliability, since the sources of HPV can be located in areas not protected by a condom. However, to reduce the likelihood of infection with papillomavirus and prevent other types of sexually transmitted infections, the method allows. In Russia, two vaccines have been registered to prevent HPV infection. The two-component "Cervarix" vaccine prevents infection with the most common oncogenic types of HPV 16 and 18 and prevents at least 85% of cervical cancer cases. The vaccine is recommended for girls from 10 years of age and women up to 45 years of age. Four-component vaccine "Gardasil", in addition to HPV 16, 18 types, protects against infection with 6 and 11 types of papillomavirus. Thus, in addition to preventing cervical carcinoma, it prevents 90% of cases of anogenital condylomatosis and pharyngeal and laryngeal papillomatosis. The vaccine "Gardasil" is recommended for adolescents 9-17 years, including boys, as well as women 18-45 years. The vaccination is performed three times: the primary administration, then after 2 and 6 months. Vaccines do not affect the already existing papillomavirus infection and are not used to treat it.