HPV infection: etiopathogenesis, epidemiology, clinical manifestations, prevention

Paulius Blažauskas1, Beatričė Bugenytė1, Ugnė Karneckaitė1, Lina Raišytė1


1 Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Medical Academy, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania




Background: Human papillomavirus is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. Most of the HPV infections are asymptomatic and more than 90% of them regress spontaneously. Remaining part of cases persist and have potential to progress to cancer. Depending on HPV genotype and other risk factors HPV infection can manifest as skin and mucous membranes warts, upper respiratory tract papillomatosis, precancerous lesions, cervical or anogenital cancer. These conditions can be prevented in the whole world by taking preventive measures.


Aim: To review the HPV infection etiopathogenesis, epidemiology, clinical manifestations, prevention and its effectiveness.


Methods: A literature research was conducted based on the following medical databases Pubmed/MedLine and UpToDate. We searched relevant articles of HPV etiopathology, clinical manifestations and new prevention tendencies. Last day of the research 19th of February, 2021.


Results: Persistant HPV infection can cause benign and malignant conditions. Every year 570 000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide. The main etiological factor of cervical cancer is HPV infection. One of the most effective primary prevention methods is early vaccination against high-risk HPV genotypes before the onset of an active sex life. The most widespread measure of secondary prevention for women aged from 25 to 59 years in Lithuania is Pap smear cytology test. All women aged 35 will be additionally tested for primary HPV DNA from 2022 in Lithuania.


Conclusions: Depending on the HPV genotype, the infection can affect different parts of the body and cause a variety of diseases. Usually HPV infecion is asymptomatic or cause lession of mucous membranes. To prevent HPV infection and other related diseases primary measures should be taken before the start of active sexual life and regular secondary measures in later stages of life.


Keywords: HPV, warts, respiratory papillomatosis, precancerous conditions, cervical cancer, anogenital cancer, HPV vaccine, Pap smear.