Does Human Papillomavirus Treated?

Infection with human papillomavirus, known by the acronym HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the world.

Papillomavirus under microscope
Papillomavirus under microscope

The clinical presentation of HPV depends on the immune status of the patient and the HPV subtype for which it has been infected. Some people with HPV may not develop signs or symptoms; some individuals develop genital warts, while others experience changes at the cellular level that may predispose them to have certain types of cancer. Virtually all cases of cervical cancer and a large percentage of cases of anal cancer and penis are related to HPV infection.

In this article we will stick to two simple questions:
  • A person infected by HPV virus can be cured?
  • There is treatment for infections caused by the HPV virus?

HPV has no cure?

HPV has no cure? The answer to this question is not as simple as it sounds, because it can be yes or no, depending on how you interpret the question.

Is there a difference between healing and curing HPV lesions caused by HPV. Therefore, to arrive at the correct answer, we must first explain how you act and how HPV is the natural evolution of papillomavirus within our body.

To summarize what will be explained throughout this article, we can make three statements:
  • HPV usually heal spontaneously in 80-90% of cases. After 1 or 2 years, the majority of the immune system of people is able to destroy the HPV and eliminate it completely from our body.
  • The lesions caused by HPV, whether warts or cervical cancer, can be cured by medical treatment. However, it is important to remember that healing the lesions of HPV does not mean eliminate HPV from the body.
  • When the patient's immune system can not eliminate the HPV on their own, the patient is infected for life, as there are no further remedies to cure HPV.

Is there a cure for HPV subtypes that cause warts on the skin?

HPV is a virus that has more than 150 different subtypes. Not everyone is capable of causing cancer and not all attack the genital region. Some subtypes of HPV, eg, HPV-1, HPV-2, HPV and 4 are restricted to the skin, causing warts simple hands, feet, knees and elbows. In these cases, the transmission of HPV is not sexually.

Who had warts in childhood knows that in most cases the lesions disappear with or without treatment after about 1 or 2 years. New warts may appear over the years, but, in general, to reach adulthood, most people are no longer contaminated with any subtype of HPV that causes warts on the skin. Only 10 to 15% of patients with warts are common adults.

It is important to note that most people who become infected with HPV subtypes responsible for the occurrence of warts do not develop warts. The patient is contaminated, do not develop any symptoms and after one or two years your immune system gets rid of the virus without the individual has not even learned of the infection.

Therefore, there is no cure for HPV that cause warts on the skin, and it is spontaneous in most cases. In patients who develop warts, treatment with drugs helps to accelerate the elimination of the wart itself, but does not eliminate the HPV body.

It is important to note that a small number of individuals remain with warts during adulthood. These are people whose immune system can not get rid of HPV. In individuals, there is no cure for HPV. What you can do is treat each individual wart that arises if this is the wish of the patient, as the wart itself does not cause any complications beyond the undesirable aesthetic effect.

There cure for HPV subtypes that cause genital warts?

Just as there are subtypes of HPV that cause warts on the hands and feet, there are several subtypes of HPV that are responsible for the appearance of warts on the genitals. Also called condyloma, these warts are caused by HPV subtypes sexually transmitted and can affect the penis, urethra, buttocks, anus, vagina and regions near the perineum.

Several subtypes of HPV cause genital warts, but about 90% of cases are caused by only two subtypes: HPV-6 and HPV-11. Fortunately, these two subtypes have low potential to generate cancer.

Just as in the simple warts, most HPV infections that cause genital warts are subclinical. About 80-90% of patients are free of HPV spontaneously after one or two years, and many do not learn that were infected because they have not develop apparent warts.

However, there are cases in which the patient develops one or more clinically apparent genital warts and remains with them for several years. Among patients who become infected with HPV and develop warts, spontaneous remission rate for each wart is 30 to 40% within 6 months to 1 year. However, the elimination of the wart does not necessarily mean elimination of HPV body. Therefore, the recurrence rate is high.

In most cases, genital warts is strictly a cosmetic problem. The risk of progression to cancer is lower in most HPV subtypes and symptoms such as pain, itching or obstruction of the anal or vaginal canal are uncommon. If patients opt for treatment is important to remember that the drugs work only against warts, having no effect on the presence of the virus in the body. Therefore, the rate of recurrence of genital warts is as high as 30% within a period of 1 year. In general, the goal is to go treating warts until the patient's body can definitely eliminate HPV. In some cases this occurs, in others not. It depends on the degree of competence of the immune system of each.

Therefore, there is no cure for HPV cause genital warts, and it is spontaneous in many cases.

Treatment of warts with medication helps speed up the process of elimination of the wart itself, but does not eliminate the HPV from the body. In some cases, however, the patient's immune system is not able to eliminate HPV final form, and a permanent infection can occur. In these cases, even though each individual wart can be cured, where new lesions may appear, since the virus is still present in the body.

There cure for HPV subtypes that cause cervical cancer?

Some subtypes of HPV, especially HPV-16 and HPV-18, are related to the appearance of cervical cancer. HPV-16 are responsible for 50% of cases and HPV-18 by about 20%.

Just as in other cases of HPV infection subtypes that can cause cervical cancer also usually disappear spontaneously in the first two years of infection. Even in patients who already have precancerous lesions of the cervix, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia calls (NIC), the spontaneous regression rate of injury and virus cure is quite high.

The cases of cervical cancers occur in patients who have a more aggressive subtype (HPV-16 HPV-18 u) and whose immune system is unable to eliminate the short / medium term virus. Generally, it takes about 10-20 years of infection for the human papillomavirus can cause pearance of cancer of the cervix.

Patients in the long run can not be free of dangerous HPV subtypes should do follow-ups every 6 months or 1 year with the gynecologist. If evolution signals from the pre-malignant lesion, the region with the development of the tumor risk should be surgically excised.

Again, it is important to note that the excision of the lesion healing cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (precancerous lesions), preventing it evolve to cancer, however, in no way affects the status of HPV in the body. The patient must remain monitored so that if new premalignant lesions arise, they can be treated early.


We can conclude that, regardless of subtype, HPV cure only occurs spontaneously. There are no treatments or remedies that directly attack the virus, eliminating it from the body. Moreover, the lesions caused by HPV, whether warts or pre-malignant neoplasms can be cured over a series of treatments, ranging from local application of substances by surgical excision of the lesion. However, as these treatments do not directly attack the virus, injuries can arise again over the years.

Therefore, HPV infection gives reason to the famous adage that prevention is better than cure. In the case of HPV, there is already effective prevention, which is made by vaccination. The HPV vaccine prevents infection against the most dangerous subtypes.

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