The symptoms of HPV infection depend on the location of the infection and the type of virus.Table 01 Common skin warts are flesh-colored, yellow, or brown. They are firm, dry, and rough, and are usually no longer than a half an inch in diameter. Plantar warts develop on the soles of the feet and may be quite painful. Instead of protruding outwards, plantar warts are flattened and pushed into the skin because of the weight of the body on the foot. Flat warts are common among children, and appear as smooth, yellow-brown spots primarily on the face; they may also develop on the neck, chest, arms, and legs.
Table 1. Characteristics of Warts Caused by HPV
Common Warts Flesh-colored, yellow, or brown in color Firm, dry, and rough in texture Less than half an inch in diameter Flat Warts Smooth spots, yellow-brown in color Primarily located on the face, but also found on the neck, chest, or extremities Common in children, less common in adults Plantar Warts Flat, compressed warts on the soles of the feet Infiltrated with small blood vessels Often painful Genital Warts Generally flesh-colored, but may also be gray or pink Lesions may be small or large, flat or raised, single or clumped into a group that may look like a cauliflower. In women, found on the vulva, around the vagina or anus, on the cervix, or on the groin or thighs In men, normally found on the penis or scrotum
Genital warts have a variety of appearances. Genital warts are flesh-colored and painless, but may also be gray or pink. They can be small or large, flat or raised, single or clumped into a group that may look like a cauliflower. In women, the warts appear on the vulva, in or around the vagina or anus, on the cervix, or on the groin or thighs. In men, genital warts normally develop on the penis or scrotum. The warts may also develop on the hands or mouth as a result of a virus that is transmitted during foreplay or oral sex. Many people with genital infections of HPV show no symptoms at all.
HPV infection of the cervix usually has no physical symptoms unless cancer develops. The changes in the cells on the surface of the cervix caused by HPV can be detected by Pap tests (see below), but generally this infection has no physical symptoms unless cancer develops.
Engaging in unsafe sexual practices increases the risk of contracting sexually transmitted HPV. Having unprotected sex increases your risk of contracting the virus. Having multiple sex partners also increases your risk of coming in contact with someone who is infected with the virus, as does having sex with someone who has sex with multiple partners. Having sex as a teenager increases a woman's risk of developing cervical cancer.
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