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CHICAGO-A new study from The Journal of the American Medical Assoocation shows that more than half of sexually active women will become infected with human papilloma virus (HPV) if they are sexually active during three years. The report from the University of California San Francisco shows the risk of becoming infected is increased 10-fold with each new partner.
One a woman is infected with HPV, it is not certain that she will develop low-grade squamous intra-epithelial lesions (LSIL), but 30% of women infected with HPV struggle with this complication. A woman's level of sexual activity or presence of other sexually transmitted disease does not increase a woman's risks of developing LSIL.
Anna-Barbara Moscicki, MD, and a professor a the University of California San Francisco has led the longest-running study of women and HPV. She has followed a group of 800 women since they were sexually active and has plotted their health through frequent medical exams.
She and her team are trying to trace the natural history of HPV and the cancerous lesions that the sexually transmitted disease can cause.
HPV, being the most common sexually transmitted disease, can lead to cervical cancer through the development of LSIL. There are more than 5 million Americans infected with HPV.
Moscicki has become well known for her work with HPV and her group of women subjects. Through her studies and research, she has helped overturn many of the assumptions about the virus--the most important of those assumptions being that women are infected for life. She has shown that young women usually fight off the virus and clear it from their bodies.
Other results from her research include:
55% of sexually active young women who did not have HPV became infected within 36 months.
Women who take oral contraceptives cut their risk of infection by 50%.
Each new sexual partner increases a woman's risk of becoming infected 10-fold.
If a woman has herpes simplex, or another sexually transmitted disease that influences immune response or creates lesions, she may be more prone to HPV infection.
90% of young women are able to clear the virus from their bodies, even though they may be reinfected.
A woman's chance of developing LSIL is greatest within the first year of infection. The rate tapers off after the fourth year.
Cigarette smoking greatly increases an infected woman's risk of developing LSIL.