Papillomavirus or HPV is a microorganism that has dozens of subspecies. Depending on which virus strain a person has, certain changes occur in the skin, mucous membranes, and internal organs.
HPVs associated with oncogenic subspecies are particularly dangerous, ie they increase the risk of developing malignant diseases. Timely analysis of papillomas helps to identify the papillomavirus strain and, consequently, antiviral treatment, which is also a cancer prevention.
Causes of HPV
Human papillomavirus is one of the most common viruses in the world.
It is estimated that one or more strains of this microorganism are found in almost 90% of the population. Such a prevalence of HPV is due to its ease of transmission.
The virus is transmitted only from person to person, but in several ways. The most basic is sexual and it can be both traditional sexual contact as well as oral or anal. HPV can be passed from mother to child during childbirth, and often after a certain period of time, papillomas appear in the baby's mouth and throat.
Often the papillomavirus is transmitted through contact, i. e. through damaged skin or when certain personal items are used by different people. The microorganism maintains its vitality perfectly in a humid and warm environment, so it is easy to become its owner after visiting a bath or pool.
Some characteristics of sexual activity increase the risk of infection. This is its early onset, frequent change of partners, sexually transmitted diseases, abortions in women. In most cases, women are sexually infected with HPV, which doctors link to the anatomical features of their genital structures.
Papillomavirus does not always appear instantly, in most cases it takes several months and years for it to appear on the skin and mucous membranes.
Several provoking factors are to blame for pathogen activation, including:
- Manifest weakening of the immune system. This is observed after severe infectious diseases, after prolonged treatment with antibiotics, with frequent respiratory diseases.
- The negative effects of prolonged and frequent psycho-emotional stress.
- Existence of chronic diseases of the genitals, urinary tract, digestive tract.
- Bad habits - prolonged smoking, alcohol abuse.
Activation of the virus leads to the fact that it accumulates in large quantities in a certain area of the body or on the mucous membranes and changes the structure and function of the cells located here. The result of this process is the appearance of warts and papillomas.
Particularly dangerous are genital warts that appear on the external genitalia and vagina in women. Rash on the skin can be both single and multiple, often they are damaged, which increases the risk of atypical degeneration of normal cells.
How and why is analysis done on human papillomavirus?
When papillomas appear on the human body, a dermatologist can really say that there is a virus in this patient's body.
But in order for the treatment to be as effective as possible, laboratory diagnosis is necessary to determine the type of virus and its quantity in the body.
In case of detection of papillomatous formations, it is necessary to determine the HPV strain:
- On the external genitalia, vagina in women and penis and urethra in men.
- In the throat and mouth.
- Around the anus.
The analysis in this case allows you to determine whether the virus belongs to the oncogenic or non-oncogenic group.
This allows the doctor to predict the outcome of the disease and prescribe treatment that prevents the likelihood of malignant injury. Human papillomavirus analysis is necessary and if a precancerous condition has been detected, in women it is cervical dysplasia or leukoplakia.
Papillomavirus analysis is recommended for all women after 30 years. Ideally, it should be re-taken every three to five years. Such an attitude towards one’s own health will allow one to detect the development of atypical cells in the early stages of their appearance.
Various diagnostic methods have been developed to detect HPV in the human body. The patient receives blood for analysis, scraping and smearing in women from the cervical canal and cervix. In men, the analysis requires cells of the urethral mucosa, the secretion of the prostate.
It is recommended to follow a few rules before taking the analysis. Male patients should not urinate for an hour and a half. The woman should not wash and use bactericidal detergents during the previous evening hygiene.
If necessary, if HPV is suspected, a biopsy is performed. That is, a small piece of tissue is taken from the cell transformation zone.
Modern medical centers have several methods for detecting HPV in the human body. The following are most commonly used:
- PCR - polymerase chain reaction. This method is based on the detection of human papillomavirus DNA, which makes it possible to detect this microorganism with almost high probability. The study requires biological fluids - blood, saliva, urine, amniotic fluid, or a cervical or urethral mucosa. DNA diagnostics also help to determine the type of microorganism and its quantitative ratio during sampling.
- The Digin test is a modern, highly sensitive assay that allows you to identify one of a hundred strains of a virus and determine its oncogenicity. To analyze papillomas it is necessary to scrape the vagina or urethra. The results are interpreted by a doctor. The Digin test allows you to detect the concentration of the virus, which indicates a high risk of degeneration of altered cells into tumors. Therefore, this study is necessary to prescribe the most effective prophylactic treatment.
In case of positive test results or doubtful results, a second diagnosis is prescribed. It allows you to evaluate the results of treatment and determine exactly whether a person is infected with HPV.
But even in the case of adverse outcomes, any person, if possible, should be screened periodically as the virus can become infected at any time.
Peculiarities of the survey in women
The diagnosis of papillomavirus in women has its own characteristics. The most informative is the qualitatively taken scrap from the zone of visible changes and from the cervical canal.
The material is obtained with a special brush, at the same time receiving a smear cytology. In some cases a universal medical probe may be used for sampling. The material should not be taken during menstruation as it shows unreliable results.
Gynecologist patients who have not reached thirty years of age are prescribed only cytology. Detection of HPV before the age of 30 is not informative - it is believed that the infection is secreted in young people.
After 30 years cytology is prescribed along with papillomavirus tests. At this time it is important not to miss a moment that indicates the normalization of normal cells into cancer cells.
The role of genotype?
Genotyping is a laboratory definition of a virus type. Such research has several advantages, including:
- Simultaneous detection of several virus strains.
- Determining the degree of HPV oncogenicity. It is believed that cervical cancer develops if a woman has HPV types 16 and 18.
- Ability to re-identify infection from persistent (chronic) infection during repeat tests.
Identifying oncogenic strains allows the physician to choose a treatment regimen that provides the maximum antiviral effect on the body and provides prophylactic prevention of cancer development.
Re-genotyping shows the effectiveness of therapy since re-infection with the same strain is impossible.
Price of tests
The cost of testing for the presence of human papillomavirus in the body depends on which examination is planned.
Conventional PCR diagnostics are cheaper in most clinics. The same method is already more expensive by identifying several types of viruses and quantifying them in the body. The highest cost of the DJ test.