The human papillomavirus (HPV) and HIV are viruses that mainly spread through sexual contact. They are different viruses with different symptoms. But, having HIV can increase the risk of developing cancer after contracting HPV.
People living with untreated HIV are more likely to have active HPV infections and may be at greater risk for developing cervical cancer. HPV prevention is vital for individuals living with HIV.
Some research also suggests that those living with HPV are more likely to acquire HIV, although the mechanism behind that is unclear. Those living with HPV should also learn how to prevent HIV.
These two viruses share a connection, but their symptoms, outlook, and treatment are not always the same. Read on to learn more about the differences and links between HPV and HIV.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can spread via penetrative sex but also by nonpenetrative physical contact. The
There are more than
Researchers who have studied the United States’ current HPV vaccine, Gardasil 9, say it is
The CDC recommends administering the
HIV is a virus that attaches to the cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4) white blood cells protecting a person’s immune system. Once those cells contract the infection, it keeps replicating and destroying the body’s immunity, eventually moving it toward the final stage: AIDS. The body then becomes too weak to fend off infection.
HIV primarily transmits through sexual intercourse or by sharing drug injection equipment. Treatments for HIV aim to preserve a person’s CD4 cells and reduce their viral load to an undetectable state. People receiving ongoing treatment may look forward to years of good health.
HPV and HIV are different viruses. They share no relation and have few similarities.
People can contract HPV and HIV from sexual activity, so doctors consider them both STIs. Both viruses may lay dormant in the body for years without causing symptoms.
People living with HPV and HIV are more susceptible to other diseases or complications. They can also have both viruses in their body at the same time. Recent
These two STIs share similar symptoms, though they are not identical. HPV can cause genital warts on the cervix, penis, vagina, and rectum. Some types of HPV also trigger cellular changes that turn into anal, cervical, oral, penile, vaginal, and vulvar
Males and females often benefit from differing vitamin and mineral types, quantities, and combinations. With this in mind, some pharmaceutical companies develop specific formulas of supplements, vitamins, shakes, and health bars to benefit either male or female biology. A person should discuss their options with a doctor or healthcare professional who can help them decide, and choose the product they feel works best for them and their needs.
It can be hard to tell if someone has HPV or HIV because the symptoms are not always immediately obvious.
With HPV, a person may never develop symptoms, and their body may clear the infection. Those who show symptoms may have warts in the genitals, hands, feet, face, or legs.
Many people who have HIV are not aware that they have it until they get a routine STI test. However,
Early HIV symptoms include:
These symptoms can last a few days or weeks. During this time, the risk of sexually transmitting HIV is high, even though HIV tests may not yet be able to detect the virus.
People who have oral, vaginal, or anal sex are at risk of contracting HPV and HIV. HPV is easy to contract since the virus lives on a person’s skin surface. This means people can acquire the virus through skin-to-skin contact with someone’s penis, mouth, vagina, or other mucous membranes. Different types of HPV cause warts on the hands and feet, and people can pick up the latter by walking barefoot over any surface that has the virus.
Sharing drug injection equipment, such as needles, syringes, or cookers, increases a person’s risk of contracting HIV.
People can reduce the spread of HPV and HIV by:
- Using barrier contraceptive methods: Condoms reduce HIV transmission by
85%, although they cannot fully protect against HPV, which a person can contract from the skin around the genitals.
- Getting vaccinated People aged 9 to 45 can receive vaccination against HPV. The CDC says that doing so could prevent
90%of HPV-related cancers from developing.
- Taking preexposure prophylactic (PrEP): Using a daily PrEP can reduce the risk of contracting HIV through sexual activity by around
99%.Additionally, those sharing drug-injecting equipment can reduce their risk by at least 74%with this method.
- Scheduling screenings: These viruses may not show symptoms, so screening is critical.
People with vaginas between the ages of 21 and 65 should get a Pap smear every 3 years to check for cervical changes. Those over 30 years of age can do it every 5 years when they have an HPV test. Healthcare professionals can detect HPV-related genital warts during an exam.
Everyone ages 13-64 should get a
Early diagnosis of HIV is imperative for a good outlook. Even if initial tests come back negative, a person who suspects they have contracted HIV should get retested.
There is no treatment for HPV. Many people find that their immune system fends off the virus. Others work with healthcare professionals to treat resulting genital warts or cancer.
HIV is treatable with a combination of antiretroviral drugs, which:
- reduce the amount of the virus in the blood, known as the viral load
- increase CD4 white blood cells, strengthening the immune system
- stop HIV from progressing
- prevent HIV from spreading to others
A person’s viral load can drop to an
Antiretrovirals do not cure HIV, and some HIV remains in the tissues. For this reason, a person needs to continue taking HIV medication for life to prevent transmission and progression.
The immune system often vanquishes HPV on its own. Some people experience genital warts, which a healthcare professional can treat as they arise. The outlook for an individual with HPV-related cancer depends on their personal risk factors and cancer stage.
There is no definitive cure for HIV. However, due to modern treatments, people living with HIV can enjoy many years of good health. They still need to take medication daily and get regular check-ups to monitor their condition.
HPV and HIV are viruses that can spread through sexual contact. The symptoms, causes, and treatments for these viruses are different. Both viruses can lead to other health complications.
A person with HIV may experience worsening symptoms and complications from HPV than someone without HIV. This is due to the effect that HIV has on the immune system.
Vaccines can prevent HPV, while PrEP medication can reduce an individual’s risk of contracting HIV.
HPV may present no symptoms, and a person’s immune system may fight off the infection. HIV may also present no symptoms, or produce flu-like symptoms, so anyone living with HIV should arrange regular check-ups and treatment.