HPV: Halting a common infection

Genital HPV is by far the most common sexually transmitted infection, infecting 80% of the sexually active population at some time in their lives.

The Human Papilloma Virus is a DNA virus which infects the squamous epithelium. It comprises an inner infective core which is covered by an outer protective shell or 'capsid'.


There are more than 200 human papilloma viruses which are classified into subtypes, or genotypes, on the basis of their DNA similarity. Different genotypes have different preferred sites for infection.

For example types 1-4, 10, 26-29 and 57 tend to infect the keratinized skin of the hands and feet. About 40 genotypes have a preference for the