Medical Definition of Papillomavirus, human

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Papillomavirus, human: One of the family of more than 100 viruses that are responsible for causing warts. Abbreviated HPV. The majority of HPVs produce warts on the hands, fingers, or face. Most of these warts are innocuous, causing nothing more than cosmetic concerns. Several types of HPV are confined primarily to the moist skin of the genitals, producing genital warts, and have been identified as a cause of cancer of the cervix and other cancers of the ano-genital region. The HPVs that cause wartlike growths on the genitals are sexually transmitted. A vaccine is available that protects against infection by the most common types of HPVs that are associated with cancer and genital warts.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2017

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