(Papillomavirus) – why would a Clinical Psychologist want to write about that?

Among my patients, I frequently encounter anxiety, fear and doubt over the Papillomavirus HPV and the STD tests carried out to diagnose it.

My main group of patients ranges from 25 to 35 years old. I thought that the Papilloma virus problem arises due to their HPV Viral lifestyle (we will see why in question 4).

Listening to my patients, however, I felt that many of their fears were exaggerated and probably unjustified. Good information could greatly reduce their emotional state.

However, as I delved deeper into the topic, I found myself, like many, receiving a lot of conflicting information from the internet. I got little from the Sexual Health Service of the Piedmont Region and was struggling to find a toll-free number or a front office that could answer my HPV questions. At this point, the state of confusion and alarm of my patients (and, often, of their companions) was clear to me.

Seeking Answers

I, therefore, decided to turn to STD Home Test professionals. I was looking for a gynaecologist trained on the topic. One willing to delve into it with me, answering my questions exhaustively (which are the questions I most often hear asked during sessions), to try to make a little clarity.

Therefore, This article results from discussions with Dr Chiara Bianchi, a gynaecologist specialising in surgical breast surgery and pre-neoplastic pathology of the lower genital tract.

Dr Biacchiardi was the Medical Director of the Minimally Invasive Gynecology Operating Unit of the Evangelical Waldensian Hospital in Turin until 2012. She is currently a Consultant at the Martini Hospital in the Gynecology and Obstetrics department. Dr. Bianchi, accredited by the Italian Colposcopy Society, regularly participates in HPV training Test conferences.

What follows is a lot of detailed information that hopefully answers some of your most common questions (and anxieties).

To simplify matters, I thought I’d break it down for you:

  • If you are young and have never heard of HPV, read from 1 to 13. You will find all the basic information here.
  • If you have already had a pap test, read from 14 to 21. Here, you will find information on the screening process
  • If you are a couple, read from 22 to 25. This tackles living with the virus as a couple.
  • If you are a parent or interested in getting vaccinated, read 26. This will tell you more about vaccines
  • If you want to know more about psychological problems linked to HPV, read from 27 to 30.

Without further ado, here are the 30 questions about the Papilloma Virus you have always wanted to ask. (and to which perhaps you hadn’t found the answers)!

1 What is a Virus?

The HPV virus (Human Papillomavirus) is part of the Papovavirus family, which consists of DNA viruses. There are 180 different STD types, and they affect the pathology of the female genital system.

They are divided into 2 large groups: those with high and low risk of developing cancer. HPV Type Test is, in fact, the determining factor in the onset of cervical cancer.

The Papillomavirus most frequently causes cervical cancer, but it also causes others in the genital, anogenital and oral systems.

2 How do I contract it?

The main route of spread and transmission is sexual. In patients who are virgins, the presence of the virus is practically zero. STD Confirmed Tests show that sexual transmission is the primary mode of infection.

The virus may also spread if you come into direct contact with someone with an ongoing “contagious lesion”,” such as warts (see question 8).

For example, an infection in public bathrooms can be accidental. It is important to clarify that these contagious lesions, resulting from direct contact, fall within the low-risk forms of HPV. They need to be removed and treated but will seldom lead to cervical cancer.

The only transmission route known to date that can lead to cancer is sexual because this is the route of the highest-risk strains (see question 3).

3 What strains are considered dangerous?

Medical research has identified a large number of strains or variations. Strains 16 and 18 are responsible for 70% of cervical cancers. Strains 31 33 35 45 51 52 56 58 59 68 73 determine a greater than 45% risk of developing cancer.

4 How widespread is it?

Virusirus reaches its peak presence at a young age when the cervix transforms growth. As we age, a weak point develops between the internal and external parts of the cervical tissue. We call this the transformation line.

This weak zone, which favours the transmission of viruses, is evident in most cases in women under 20. If we were to HPV test all sexually active women under 20, they would have Virusirus in more than 90% of cases. This does not mean there is illness because, within 2 years, the virus disappears spontaneously in 80% of cases!

You should not undergo the STD Lab test (see question 14) before this age unless symptoms such as bleeding after intercourse occur. Finding viruses is certain and insignificant; prevention begins in the 25th year. Before the age of 25, because of its rarity, it is not worth testing because you only risk overdiagnosing it.

Therefore, excluding the under-25 population, the range that becomes highest for positive findings is 25 to 30 years. However, we screen up to the age of 65 because, in this range, there can still be persistent infections.