Human papillomavirus or HPV is one of the strains of viruses that leads to oral warts and genital warts. It is a double stranded DNA virus that can infect epithelial cells of the mucosa and skin. These regions include tonsils, throat, and mouth as well as reproductive regions, like vagina, penis, and anus. When the virus comes in contact with these areas, it gets itself lodged in epithelial cells. This article gives you some information about HPV oral transmission.
HPV is transmitted through sexual contact. It has over 100 or more different types that infect epithelial cells and mucus membranes. However, it is not known why some infect only the epithelial cells on the hands and feet, some of the lining of the mouth, and the rest infect the genital region of both men and women. This virus produces a wart that is called papilloma. This is a type of non-cancerous tumor that gives rise to the name of the virus.
The non-cancerous tumor, however does not lead to cancer itself. However, these warts have directly been linked to cancer of the cervix, penis, and anal region in men. HPV 16 and HPV 18 lead to sexually transmitted diseases. When a person is infected with HPV, it can lead to production of two tissues that are obviously abnormal, the condyloma tissue and dysplasia tissue.
The wart-like growths that are painless, causing a bit of irritation, itching, and burning are the condyloma tissues. These warts may look like a small cauliflower growth on the skin. This is a non-malignant growth that can be treated. The dysplastic tissue, on the other hand, is an abnormal growth of skin cells. This is non-cancerous growth, that serves as a trigger to malignant cancer cells. For example, the virus in women can lead to cervical cancer.
The main mode of transmission for HPV virus is the skin to skin contact. So, vaginal penetration is not the only mode. It can even spread through anal penetration, and recently, it has also been found that it can spread through oral contact as well. Although the number of cases caused due to oral contact may be lesser as compared to sexual contact, it is very much possible.
HPV can lead to throat cancer during oral sex. It can even spread to the oral cavity from mother to child during birth. The risk of oral cancer due to this virus increases manifold if a person uses tobacco and alcohol. Thus, oral cancer in men who smoke as well as drink is becoming very common.
Leading to Cancer
Research has suggested HPV is contagious and can spread through open-mouthed kissing, like a French kiss. In men as well as women, this can lead to gradual growth of oropharyngeal cancer. Smokers are highly as risk during an open-mouthed kiss.
To avoid this condition, one needs to totally forgo unprotected sex. One is at risk if they have sex with an infected partner. As mentioned above, skin to skin contact is necessary for transmission. Therefore, use of a condom will help serve as a barrier during vaginal and anal sex, as well as oral sex. One should avoid touching the genital area of the partner, and then touching ones own genitals or mouth.
One can prevent the disease by getting vaccinated with Gardasil, which is FDA approved. It is known to protect an individual from four HPV strains that can cause cervical cancer and genital warts in women. Also, avoid multiple partners and make sure you use a condom.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.