​​Human Papilloma Virus​​

Human Papilloma Virus or HPV can lead to the development of warts on the skin or the mucuous membranes of the organs. Mostly people do not know they have been affected by it and it goes away on its own. HPV infections don't usually lead to cancer. However, few strains of the genital HPV virus may lead to cancer of the cervix (part of the female reproductive system). These can be prevented by the adminstration of vaccines.

HPV lives in the body's epithelial cells. These are flat and thin cells found on the skin's surface. They are also present on the surface of the vagina, cervix, vulva, anus, penis head, throat and mouth.

 HPV is passed on by sexual contact. They can be easily passed on if you come in contact with mucous membranes and bodily fluids, or when you indulge in oral sex.​​

Mostly your body defeats the HPV virus before it shows symptoms. If it does show symptoms, warts may appear on different parts of the body. These warts may be of the following different types:

  • Genital warts: these appear as flat lesions, small cauliflower-like bumps or tiny stem-like protrusions. In women they appear on the vagina and vulva. In men, these appear on the penis or scrotum.

  • Common warts: they appear as rough and raised bumps. They appear on the hands, palms and elbows. These are painful and may also bleed if are hit by something or scratched.

  • Planter warts: these warts are hard, grainy growths that usually appear on the heels or balls of your feet; the areas that feel the most pressure.

  • Flat warts: Theses are flat-topped, slightly raised lesions darker than your regular skin colour. They will appear on your face, neck or on areas that have been scratched. This type of HPV usually affects children and young adults.

If you experience the above symptoms, you should see your doctor or consult the physicians from the Kidney and Bladder Service Line at the Aga Khan University Hospital. Your treatment will be defined by the doctor after your first visit.

For expert gynaecological advice, you can also visit a doctor working with the Women's Health Care Services at The Aga Khan University Hospital.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. ​​Here are some tips to help get you started.

Usually symptoms of HPV are clearly visible and hence your doctor can physically examine you to understand the problem that you have. Additionally, any of the following tests may be conducted by the doctor:

  • Vinegar solution test: Your doctor will apply vinegar on your genital warts. This will help in identifying the non-visible warts that are there.
  • Pap test: your doctor will collect sample from the vagina or cervix for laboratory analysis. This will reveal abnormalities that may lead to cancer.

  • DNA Test: this test can recognize the DNA of the high-risk varieties of HPV that have been linked to genital cancers. The test is conducted on a sample of cells taken from your cervix. It's recommended for women aged thirty and older (in addition to the Pap test).​

Warts usually go away without treatment. However, your doctor can give you medications to apply orally on the warts. If medications do not work, your doctor may suggest one of the following procedures, which physically remove warts.

  • Warts will be frozen with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy)
  • Warts will be surgically removed

  • Warts will be burnt with an electrical current (electrocautery)

  • Warts will be removed through laser surgery​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
 
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.
 
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.​