Genital infection with human papillomavirus in adolescents

Alexander K.C. Leung, James D. Kellner, H. Dele Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in adolescents. Such infection is associated with substantial health risks and is unpredictable in its resolution. Genital warts are the most common clinical manifestations of genital HPV infections. Most genital warts are caused by low-risk HPV types (notably HPV-6 and -11). The majority of genital HPV infections are latent or subclinical. Although the outcome of a genital HPV infection is variable, the infection is usually transient and complete resolution is common. However, persistent infections with high-risk HPV types (notably HPV-16 and -18) are associated with the development of cervical intraepithelial dysplasia (CIN), which may progress to cervical cancer. Genital warts, generally diagnosed in the clinic, can be treated with imiquimod, podofilox, podophyllin, liquid nitrogen, bichloroacetic or trichloroacetic acid, or surgery. Cervical cytology screening is an ideal screening test for subclinical HPV infection with resultant CIN. Annual cervical cytology screening should begin approximately 3 years after initiation of sexual intercourse but no later than age 21 years. Because of the high rate of regression of low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL) in adolescents, the cytologic study should be repeated within 6 to 12 months. Colposcopy should be reserved for persistent LSIL. Patients with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) should be referred for colposcopy and biopsy. Confirmed HSIL should be treated with cryotherapy, laser therapy, or loop electrosurgical excisional procedure. The use of therapeutic vaccines is still experimental. HPV infection can be prevented, to a certain extent, by delaying the initiation of sexual activity, limiting the number of sexual partners, and using latex condoms. Several viruslike particle candidate vaccines are under development for the prevention of HPV. These vaccines have been proven safe, well tolerated, highly immunogenic, and highly efficacious. Such vaccines are urgently needed and ultimately may be an important preventive measure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-197
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Cervical dysplasia
  • Genital
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Genital infection with human papillomavirus in adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this