Infection caused by human papillomavirus type 16

Introduction to Human Papillomavirus Type 16

Human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) is a sexually transmitted virus of the papillomavirus family. It is one of the most common types of genital HPV, and it is linked to a wide range of health consequences. It can lead to some types of cancer, including but not limited to, cervical cancer, throat cancer, anal cancer, and penile cancer. It is estimated that HPV-16 accounts for up to one-third of all cervical cancer cases.

Signs and Symptoms of HPV-16

In the majority of cases, HPV-16 does not cause any signs or symptoms and is cleared by the body’s immune system. When symptoms do occur, they may include the following:

  • Genital warts (small bumps on the genitals or anal area)
  • Abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix (detected on a Pap test)
  • Abnormal changes in the cells of the anus (detected on an anal Pap test or biopsy)

Diagnosis of HPV-16

A Pap test or an HPV test may be used to diagnose HPV-16 infection. For women, a Pap test looks for abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. This can indicate a current HPV infection or an active infection in the past. The HPV test looks directly for the virus’ genetic material. For men, an anal Pap test or biopsy may be used to diagnose infection in the anus.

Treatment of HPV-16

Currently, there is no specific treatment for HPV-16 infection. In most cases, it is cleared by the body’s own immune system and does not cause any major health problems. However, if genital warts or abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix or anus are present, treatment may be necessary. Treatment may include surgical removal of the genital warts, as well as other treatments for the abnormal changes in the cells.

Prevention of HPV-16

The best way to prevent HPV-16 infection is to practice safer sex. This includes using condoms, limiting sexual activity to only one partner, and avoiding any sexual activity while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Vaccinations are also available to protect against HPV-16 infection. These include the Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines.