Pediatric Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Pediatric Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

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Summary

Pediatric human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  It can cause genital warts and certain types of cancer.

Expanded overview

Human papillomavirus is a widespread, sexually transmitted infection (STI). It has become well-known due to its link to cervical cancer. While not every child with HPV will develop cervical cancer, HPV increases the risk. The main feature of HPV is genital warts, but not all children will develop them.

Causes

The HPV infection is primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact. There are several risk factors that increase the chance of a child getting a HPV infection:

  • Having a cut – The disease can enter the blood stream through an opening in the skin (like a cut).
  • Having a mother with HPV – It is possible for a mother to infect her child during vaginal childbirth.
  • Being sexually active – Those that are sexually active have a greater risk of contracting HPV. Further, the more sexual partners you have, the more likely you are to get HPV. Being with a partner that has had multiple partners also increases your risk.
  • Weakened immune system – Immune systems can be weakened by HIV/AIDS [insert link to new HIV page], immune-suppressing medications (organ transplants) or other reasons.

Symptoms

Warts are the most frequently occurring symptom of HPV; however, most HPV infections will not cause symptoms.

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