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HPV in students

HPV: 200 known varieties, many harmless, some carcinogenic

wikimedia commonsHPV: 200 known varieties, many harmless, some carcinogenicwikimedia commons

University students in the city of Belém, state of Pará, exhibit a high prevalence of infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a survey conducted by researchers from the federal universities of Pará and Sergipe, and the Evandro Chagas Institute.  In analyzing the samples, the researchers found varieties of HPV that carry a high risk of causing cervical cancer and are not eliminated by vaccines currently in use – which specifically target HPV types 16 and 18 that have a high potential for producing tumors, as well as types 6 and 11, associated with the formation of genital warts.  According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, 13 varieties of HPV are classified as having a “high risk” of causing cancer.  The researchers analyzed cells sampled from the outer layer of the uterine cervix of 265 non-smoking young women, 25 years old on average, and identified segments of HPV DNA in 67 of them, a prevalence of 25.3% (Infectious Agents and Cancer, July 22, 2015).  HPV is known to be the main causal agent of genital warts and cervical cancer, the third most common type of malignant tumor in women, after breast and colorectal cancers.  There are at least 200 known varieties of the virus.  In the study, the researchers identified 20 of these varieties, including 16 and 18, which are associated with 70% of all cases of cervical cancer.  Only 50% of infected women and 10% of infected men produce specific antibodies against HPV.