HPV treatment depends on the clinical presentation of the infection, concomitant conditions and the type of the detected virus. HPV is responsible for various epithelial diseases which may occur on different organs. The most problematic form of HPV infection is the infection of genital organs and perianal area which is mainly associated with two diseases: condylomas and dysplasia.
Latent infection (absence of visible signs) is one of the features of HPV. HPV DNA may reside inside the cell before or after an active infection. If external lesions disappear on their own it does not necessarily mean that the virus has gone away. After the resolution of the lesions HPV DNA may be present in a visibly healthy epithelium for several months or even years. For this reason, HPV treatment is considered to be really effective if lesions do not reoccur for 6-12 months.
A very important question concerning HPV treatment is the identification of the HPV type. Nowadays, about 100 HPV types have been described, and different types are associated with different diseases. One group of types cause common warts, like warts on the hands, feet or face; another group is responsible for condylomas; and there is also a group of HPV types which are associated with cervical cancer. The ability of certain types to initiate cellular changes that may progress to cancer gave grounds to distinguish low oncogenic risk HPV types and high oncogenic risk HPV types.
Condylomas, commonly known as genital warts, are benign epithelial growths which equally affect men and women. Condylomas are usually induced by low risk HPV types and have a minimal malignant potential. They may disappear without any HPV treatment due to the activity of the immune system or they may be destroyed by chemicals or surgical procedures. In both cases it is advisable to administer an antiviral therapy because the lesions are very likely to reoccur.
Dysplasia is most frequently observed in women and is characterized by the presence of cellular abnormalities in the epithelial membranes. In women HPV-induced dysplasia may develop on the cervix, vagina, vulva and in the perianal area. Based on the amount of abnormal cellular changes, dysplasia may be classified as mild, moderate and severe. The majority of dysplasias, especially moderate and severe forms, are associated with high risk HPV types. For this reason, HPV treatment is necessary in order to prevent malignant degeneration of the lesions.