The Undersecretary for Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo López-Gatell, announced that he will begin a vaccination campaign against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that will be addressed to 2.5 million girlsfor we explain what this virus is and the health risks it represents.
What is HPV?
Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are a group of related viruses that can cause everything from warts on different parts of the body even cancers, there are more than 200 types.
some types of HPV affect the skin with small warts that appear on the face or neck, lesions that are not malignant but are uncomfortable and unattractive.
within the HPV there are about 40 types that infect mucousbelong to the anogenital region although, through sexual activity, they can reach other areas where there is mucosa, such as the mouth, rectum, urethral entrance and perianal region, and can affect internal areas such as the vulva, vagina and cervix
Papillomas that affect the genitals are divided into two groups: low risk, which cause benign genital warts; Y high risk where there are 20 types, these are the cause of lesions that, if not monitored and treated, can lead to different types of cancer (oropharynx, vaginal, anal or cervical, as well as penis, vulva and skin).
“Having HPV lesions does not mean that cancer has already developed, because it is not a linear path. All lesions have slow progressions; thus, timely diagnosis helps effective treatment to avoid this fearsome disease”, explained Dr. Marcela Lizano Soberón, a researcher at the UNAM Biomedical Research Institute.
The HPV spread through sexual contact with an infected person, they can also spread through other intimate skin-to-skin contact.
In men, the lesions range from low risk to cancer of the penis and rectum, but it is very rare compared with cervical cancer in women. For this reason it is often called “virus of inequity”, because it causes more cancer and deaths in women, says the UNAM academic.
The most cervical cancer tumors are related to chronic HPV infection, this discovery was even winner of a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008; Therefore, vaccination is recommended as a means of prevention.
The recommendation of the health authorities is to protect and prevent with the vaccine people who have not started their sexual lifebecause it is considered more effective if you have not been in contact with the virus, says Dr. Marcela Lizano Soberón, a specialist in epidemiology and molecular biology of HPV.
vaccinations apply preferably to girls between 9 and 13 years of age because, the younger, the vaccine generates a higher antibody response. Public policies usually include only girls, although boys can also become infected and be transmitters.
“In Mexico we have two vaccines accepted by Cofepris, one that is bivalent, which brings serotypes 16 and 18, which are the ones that cause about 70% of cervical cancer, and a quadrivalent vaccine that brings serotypes 6, 11, 16 and 18. It brings the same as the bivalent, plus 6 and 11 that cause approximately between 80 and 90% of genital warts”.
Rodrigo Romero, coordinator of the Mexican Association of Vaccinology.
The vaccine is free in the public sector, but we have to wait for the vaccination campaigns. In the private sector, costs vary.