|I have genital warts and am concerned that they will affect my baby. Can I get the HPV vaccine now to cure it?
The main risk with this infection is not to your baby at all, but to you as the mother. Genital warts are caused by the HPV virus. There are over 100 different strains of the human papilloma virus [HPV], 40 of which affect the genital area. It is a highly infectious virus which can cause warts in the genital area which vary greatly in appearance.
Many are almost invisible and without symptoms, but they can also grow into large dark lumpy growths. For most women and girls the virus goes away on its own. If the virus does not go away it can develop into cervical cancer, precancerous lesions, or genital warts, depending on the HPV type. The infection is spread by sexual contact; a condom will not protect you.
The HPV vaccine
Testing for HPV and cervical cancer
The vaccine is not advised during pregnancy. After you have given birth, it is possible to receive the vaccine. Two types of vaccine are available: Gardasil protects against 4 types of HPV, and Cervarix protects against 2 types of HPV.
It is important to note these vaccines cannot be used as a cure if you are already infected with one type of HPV. However, the vaccine can still be beneficial to protect you against other types of the virus. You can receive the series of 3 vaccines up until age 26.
HPV and cervical cancer
Because certain strains of the infection can lead to cervical cancer, the warts should be treated, and a pap smear should be performed. Your doctor may decide to monitor the situation and treat the warts once your baby has been delivered. He can decide to use ointment, or may remove them using physical means such as laser.
There are 4 types of HPV that women and girls should be most concerned about:
• HPV Types 16 and 18 cause about 70 % of cervical cancer cases.
• HPV Types 6 and 11 cause about 90 % of genital warts cases.
HPV also causes vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women; penile cancer in men; and anal cancer, cancer of the back of the throat (oropharynx) in both men and women.
Since HPV has no signs or symptoms many people don’t know they have HPV or are passing it on. Once an HPV virion invades a cell an active infection occurs and the virus can be transmitted. Several months to years may elapse before lesions develop and can be clinically detected.
Men are the carriers of the virus, but no test is currently available for HPV in men. Therefore, it is equally important for boys as well as girls to be vaccinated. Women can be tested for HPV by having regular pap smears. This is important even for women who have had the vaccine.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Effects
Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Bacterial
Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Chlamydia
Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Genital
Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Gonorrhoea
Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Chances of infection
Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Implications
Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Testing
Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Syphilis
Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Trichomoniasis