4 March International Day Against Disease

The IRCCS Regina Elena and San Gallicano provide STD Home Tests and clinical, experimental, and informational contributions to ending the pathology. This last point is basic since HPV Lab Testing and vaccination are decreasing in Italy.

It is possible to remove a human tumour from the face of the earth for the first time: cervical cancer caused by HPV. The World Health Organization launched the appeal.

Get rid of the tumour.

In this context, the HPV unit of the IRCCS Regina Elena and San Gallicano has been managing the patient’s overall health for over ten years.

“One less worry” is the claim today, 4 March, International Day against HPV. We have the skills and power from STD screening and vaccines.

But what is it?

“Papillomaviruses (PV) – explains Aldo Venturone, HPV test doctor and researcher of the STD Unit – are a family of viruses present in all animal species from birds to fish, from reptiles to mammals, including humans; they were practically already present in our ancestral progenitors. The virus infects human skin and mucous membranes. Only some of these viruses, called high-risk, can cause cancer. More than 80% of sexually active people have at least one genital infection at some point in their lives.

The natural history of the two sexes is different:

STD Home testing reveals that Males become infected more often but rarely develop lesions, and women become infected less often but have a greater propensity for the infection to persist, the first step towards a possible evolution. For the female genital system, cytological diagnosis has represented a cornerstone of preventing tumours due to infection.

We can anticipate the diagnosis and extend screening times in case of a negative test with molecular tests. Unfortunately, the HPV Type test is clinically valid only for women and not for men.

Why get vaccinated?

“Against high-risk Variants – clarifies virologist Venturone – we have an extremely effective and safe vaccine. As already mentioned, almost all of us will get it from the moment we begin sexual activity and therefore, preventing the infection is most useful in pre-pubertal age. In Italy, both females and males get free STD lab testing and vaccination. The available STD data indicate that in populations with vaccination coverage of over 70%, there has been the eradication of genital warts by HPV 6 and 11), of pre-neoplastic lesions (CIN III), and a substantial reduction of tumours of the uterine cervix.”

Vaccination represents a fundamental aid in preventing other cancers, anal and oropharyngeal, and to protect populations at particular risk such as the immunosuppressed, HIV positive and LGTBQ.

Where are we at with treatment?

“In the field of STD testing and therapy – explains Venuti – there have been substantial advances with the use of the preventive vaccine after the treatment of associated lesions with a substantial reduction in relapses. Finally, associated tumours can also benefit from robotic surgery for their treatment, both at the genital and oral cavity level.”

In conclusion, the Viral-Unit IFO supports eradicating this pathology with a vast experimental contribution: therapeutic vaccines, drugs, new follow-up biomarkers; clinical: patient counselling, screening for oral pathologies, therapy of associated tumours, robotic surgery and information. This last point remains central as vaccination is decreasing in almost all Italian regions. The final message cannot fail: vaccinating females and males against HPV.

“The vaccine is safe, so it won’t hurt you even if you’re older.”

You don’t joke with love…

If there’s something where you need to use your head, it’s love. Not only for the feeling, which is still fundamental, but also for prevention: because loving yourself means opening your heart to the other, but also (if you don’t do it consciously) exposing yourself to sexually transmitted diseases.

Among these is HPV: when things go well, it causes warts and warts; when things go badly, it turns into tumours, which can also be malignant. Yet there are two basic weapons to fight it: periodic checks, which women can do with the Pap or the HPV Kit Test, a molecular analysis, and the vaccine.

It is the trigger for cervical cancer, which still affects thousands of women in Italy. Vaccination is a powerful tool that protects people safely and effectively from the most frequent STD viruses that cause cancer.

How does it work?

  • The injection is in the shoulder in three doses. The second two months after the first and the third four months after the second.
  • Males and females 9+ years of age be vaccinated.
  • It does not contain the entire virus and cannot cause infection or disease.

Do I get vaccinated, and then am I good to go?

  • No. Tests show that the vaccine protects against viral strains responsible for up to 90% of cervical cancers and HPV genital warts. But prevention continues to be necessary.
  • The vaccine does not replace regular checks: women are still recommended to undergo Pap and HPV tests.
  • The vaccine does not protect against types of HPV to which the patient may have already been exposed. However, it is still effective even in women who have already undergone the removal of lesions of the cervix due to the virus.

Are there any risks if I get it?

  • Every medical treatment has its risks and benefits. As always, the correct choice, guided by your gynaecologist, allows you to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks.
  • The vaccine is safe: its main benefit is protection against cervical cancers, pre-cancerous lesions on the genital organs and almost all warts.
  • Apart from the typical side effects common to other vaccines. (temporary discomfort such as fever, erythema pain at the injection site, etc.)

And What should you do to avoid the virus?

  • Do regular checks to determine if you have a Pap or HPV Kit test.
  • Have safe sex, especially with casual partners
  • Get vaccinated, and have your partner.

What if I have doubts? What if I need help?

The best reference is your gynaecologist (or that of your partner). The Polyclinic has an active reference centre for preventing, checking, and treating related genital pathology. STD Screening Tests, couples counselling, vaccinations, and exams are other things. Treatment paths for every STD, including HPV, are available.