Fast Five Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Human Papillomavirus

William James, MD


September 29, 2017

Women who take oral contraceptives for longer than 5 years have an increased relative risk of developing cervical carcinoma. This risk declines after oral contraceptive use is stopped, and no risk is demonstrated in women who took these agents for less than 5 years.

HPV types demonstrate a high degree of site-specificity, with some types found only on certain parts of the skin or mucous membranes. As a rule, HPV types causing common warts of the skin do not infect moist epithelium, and vice versa.

Anal cancer has been strongly associated with male homosexuality and with specific male sexual practices, such as engaging in receptive anal intercourse; the relative risk is 33. However, the overall disease prevalence is higher in women than in men, with a female-to-male ratio of 1.5:1.

HPV infections have not been shown to be cytolytic; rather, viral particles are released as a result of degeneration of desquamating cells. The HPV virus can survive for many months and at low temperatures without a host; therefore, an individual with plantar warts can spread the virus by walking barefoot.

For more on the etiology and pathophysiology of HPV, read here.


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