HPV virus infection and natural treatment with dietary supplements, risk of vaccine
March 26 2018 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


Ten years of vaccinating against human papillomavirus (HPV) has cut infections from this cancer-causing virus by 60 percent among teen girls.


Genital HPV infection is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by human papillomavirus. HPV is the name of a group of viruses that includes more than 90 different strains or types. More than 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted, and they can infect the genital area of men and women including the skin of the penis, vulva (area outside the vagina), or anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, or rectum. Most people who become infected will not have any symptoms and will clear the infection on their own. Approximately 25 million people are currently infected with HPV. Just over one in four US women aged 14 through 59 are infected, but the strains of the virus linked to cervical cancer are found in fewer than one in 30 women.


Indian J Sex Transm Disorder 2013. An update on oral human papillomavirus infection. Human papillomavirus (HPV) constitutes the majority of newly acquired sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in United States as per the centers for disease control factsheet 2013. Genital HPV is the most common STI with ikjhjncidence of about 5.5 million world-wide, nearly 75% of sexually active men and women have been exposed to HPV at some point in their lives. Oral Sexual behavior is an important contributor to infection of HPV in the oral mucosa especially in cases known to practice high risk behavior and initiating the same at an early age. HPV infection of the oral mucosa currents is believed to affect 1-50% of the general population, depending on the method used for diagnosis. The immune system clears most HPV naturally within 2 years (about 90%), but the ones that persist can cause serious diseases. HPV is an essential carcinogen being implicated increasingly in association with cancers occurring at numerous sites in the body. Though there does not occur any specific treatment for the HPV infection, the diseases it causes are treatable such as genital warts, cervical and other cancers.

Natural Treatment for HPV virus in Cervix
This study examined the effects of curcumin on HPV-associated pathways involved in developing cervical cancer. We demonstrate for the first time that curcumin treatment suppresses cervical cancer cell growth in a three-dimensional raft culture system. Curcumin also inhibits tumorigenic characteristics as shown by decreases in both clonogenic potential and cell motility. Additionally, our findings show that curcumin treatment inhibits the transcription of HPV16 E6/E7 as early as 6 h posttreatment and restores the expression of tumor suppressor proteins p53, retinoblastoma protein, and PTPN13. While smoking is a recognized risk factor for cervical cancer, the molecular effects of smoke carcinogens on the expression of HPV E6/E7 oncogenes are not well known. We show for the first time that exposure to benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), a tobacco carcinogen, increases the expression of HPV E7 oncoprotein suggesting a molecular link between smoking and cervical cancer. Importantly, curcumin decreases the BaP induced increase in the expression of HPV E7 oncoprotein. The results of this study clearly demonstrate that curcumin alters HPV-associated molecular pathways in cervical cancer cells. These novel findings imply that curcumin may be an effective chemopreventive and therapeutic agent for cervical cancer prevention and treatment. Mol Carcinog. 2011. Curcumin suppresses human papillomavirus oncoproteins, restores p53, Rb, and PTPN13 proteins and inhibits benzo[a]pyrene-induced upregulation of HPV E7. Cancer Biology Research Center, Sanford Research/USD, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA.


Protective effects of green tea extracts (polyphenon E and EGCG) on human cervical lesions.
Eur J Cancer Prev. 2003. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
We investigated clinical efficacy of green tea extracts (polyphenon E; poly E and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate EGCG delivered in a form of ointment or capsule in patients with human papilloma virus (HPV) infected cervical lesions. Fifty-one patients with cervical lesions (chronic cervicitis, mild dysplasia, moderate dysplasia and severe dysplasia) were divided into four groups, as compared with 39 untreated patients as a control. Poly E ointment was applied locally to 27 patients twice a week. For oral delivery, a 200 mg of poly E or EGCG capsule was taken orally every day for eight to 12 weeks. In the study, 20 out of 27 patients (74%) under poly E ointment therapy showed a response. Six out of eight patients under poly E ointment plus poly E capsule therapy (75%) showed a response, and three out of six patients (50%) under poly E capsule therapy showed a response. Six out of 10 patients (60%) under EGCG capsule therapy showed a response. Overall, a 69% response rate (35/51) was noted for treatment with green tea extracts, as compared with a 10% response rate (4/39) in untreated controls. Thus, the data collected here demonstrated that green tea extracts in a form of ointment and capsule are effective for treating cervical lesions, suggesting that green tea extracts can be a potential therapy regimen for patients with HPV infected cervical lesions.


I see on your website that testing has been done with people diagnosed with HPV and with dysplasia using green tea extract. I am wondering if there is any way to buy the poly e ointment without a prescription and to apply it to the cervix yourself.
   A. I have not looked into this topic in much detail and do not know if it is available commercially over the counter. The company making it is MediGene AG.


Carrageenan appears to be a potent inhibitor of human papilloma viruses -- particularly the types that cause cervical cancer and genital warts.


HPV and Warts

Papillomaviruses are a group of small non-enveloped DNA tumor viruses whose infection usually causes benign epithelial lesions (warts). The HPV virus infects keratinocytes in the basal layer of stratified squamous epithelia and replicates in the nucleus of infected keratinocytes in a differentiation-dependent manner.

How do people get genital HPV virus infections?
The types of HPV that infect the genital area are spread primarily through genital contact. Most HPV infections have no signs or symptoms; therefore, most infected persons are unaware they are infected, yet they can transmit the virus to a sex partner. Rarely, a pregnant woman can pass HPV to her baby during vaginal delivery. A baby that is exposed to HPV very rarely develops warts in the throat or voice box.
   The spermicide contraceptive nonoxynol-9 (N-9) may promote genital infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). The spermicide contraceptive nonoxynol-9 (N-9) sensitizes the genital tract to these infections.


Men are at increased risk for oral human papillomavirus infection if their female sex partners have oral and/or genital HPV infection. HPV transmission occurs through both oral-oral and oral-genital routes, according to  American Association for Cancer Research, news release, Nov. 12, 2014.


Tobacco use in any form appears to be linked to an increased risk of infection with oral human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16), a virus that can cause cancers of the mouth and throat; Oct. 8, 2014 ,Journal of the American Medical Association.

Signs and symptoms
Most people who have a genital HPV infection do not know they are infected. The virus lives in the skin or mucous membranes and usually causes no symptoms. Some people get visible genital warts, or have pre-cancerous changes in the cervix, vulva, anus, or penis. Very rarely, HPV infection results in anal or genital cancers.
  Genital warts usually appear as soft, moist, pink, or flesh-colored swellings, usually in the genital area. They can be raised or flat, single or multiple, small or large, and sometimes cauliflower shaped. They can appear on the vulva, in or around the vagina or anus, on the cervix, and on the penis, scrotum, groin, or thigh. After sexual contact with an infected person, warts may appear within weeks or months, or not at all.


HPV in Men

Genital HPV infection, globally one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, is associated with cancers, genital warts, and other epithelial lesions. Although a consistent and coherent picture of the epidemiology and pathogenesis of genital HPV infections in women has developed over the past two decades, less is known about these infections in men. Available data suggest that, as with women, most genital HPV infections in men are symptomless and unapparent, and that HPV16 is probably the most frequently detected type. In populations of similar age, the prevalence of specific HPV types is usually lower in men than in women.

How is genital HPV infection diagnosed?
Most women are diagnosed with HPV on the basis of abnormal Pap tests. A Pap test is the primary cancer-screening tool for cervical cancer or pre-cancerous changes in the cervix, many of which are related to HPV. Also, a specific test is available to detect HPV DNA in women. The test may be used in women with mild Pap test abnormalities, or in women >30 years of age at the time of Pap testing. The results of HPV DNA testing can help health care providers decide if further tests or treatment are necessary.

HPV Treatment and prevention
There is no "cure" for HPV infection at this time, although in most women the infection goes away on its own. The treatments provided are directed to the changes in the skin or mucous membrane caused by the infection, such as warts and pre-cancerous changes in the cervix.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2014 approved a new vaccine with expanded protection against the human papillomavirus (HPV), by far the leading cause of cervical and certain other cancers. The agency said that Gardasil 9 can shield users against nine strains of the virus, compared to the four strains covered by Gardasil, the Merck & Co. vaccine approved in 2006. Merck also makes Gardasil 9.


PAP test helps reduce HPV virus infection?
When a Papanicolaou smear is conducted, an inflammatory response occurs that may initiate clearance of human papillomavirus (HPV) by the immune system and thus reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

HPV infection and cervical cancer
Genital human papilloma virus, the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, is associated with cervical cancer in women, and penile cancers in men. The infection is asymptomatic until a malignancy develops. Of the more than 90 subtypes, only a small number are associated with malignancies. Vaccines made with recombinant HPV proteins have been shown effective in preventing infection with the more virulent strains of the virus.


Some of these viruses are called "high-risk" types, and may cause abnormal Pap tests. They may also lead to cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, or penis. Others are called "low-risk" types, and they may cause mild Pap test abnormalities or genital warts. Certain types of HPVs, such as HPV-16, 18, and 31, have been recognized as causative agents of cervical cancer and anal cancer and their infections, which arise via sexual transmission, are associated with more than 95% of cervical cancer.


Natural course of the HPV virus infection
Young women commonly become infected with HPV soon after they start having sex. However, most of these infections persist less than 3 years, and only a tiny minority of women develop pre-cancerous changes in their cervical cells. Still, in a small number of cases, persistent infection with cancer-related HPV strains may cause pre-cancerous cervical changes within just a few years. Sexually Transmitted Disease, 2007.

  All types of HPV can cause mild Pap test abnormalities which do not have serious consequences. Approximately 10 of the 30 identified genital HPV types can lead, in rare cases, to development of cervical cancer. Research has shown that for most women, cervical HPV infection becomes undetectable within two years. Although only a small proportion of women have persistent infection, persistent infection with "high-risk" types of HPV is the main risk factor for cervical cancer.
  A Pap test can detect pre-cancerous and cancerous cells on the cervix. Regular Pap testing and careful medical follow-up, with treatment if necessary, can help ensure that pre-cancerous changes in the cervix caused by HPV infection do not develop into life threatening cervical cancer. The Pap test used in U.S. cervical cancer screening programs is responsible for greatly reducing deaths from cervical cancer. For 2004, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 10,520 women will develop invasive cervical cancer and about 3,900 women will die from this disease. Most women who develop invasive cervical cancer have not had regular cervical cancer screening.
  In a study that followed more than 2,400 Brazilian women, researchers found that those who became infected with more than one type of human papillomavirus (HPV) were far more likely than women infected with one viral strain to develop pre-cancerous changes in the cervix. There are more than 100 types of HPV, some of which cause genital warts. Certain strains of genital HPV can cause abnormalities in the cervical tissue known as "high-grade" lesions, which can sometimes progress to cancer. The new findings suggest that women who become infected with multiple strains of HPV are at particular risk of developing these lesions.

How can people reduce their risk
The surest way to eliminate risk for genital HPV infection is to refrain from any genital contact with another individual. HPV infection can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered or protected by a latex condom, as well as in areas that are not covered. Among newly sexually active women, consistent condom use by their partners appears to reduce the risk of cervical and vulvovaginal HPV infection.


French kissing, oral sex
Oral sex and open-mouthed French kissing increase the risk of acquiring oral infections of human papillomavirus, or HPV. Dr. Maura L. Gillison from The Ohio State University, Columbus wanted to find out if sexual behaviors was associated with oral HPV infection in 332 adults and in 210 college-aged men. The researcher found that 5 percent of the adults and 3 percent of college-aged men had oral HPV infection. Among adults, the odds of oral HPV infection were higher among current tobacco smokers and among individuals who reported having either more than 10 oral or more than 25 vaginal sex partners during their lifetime. Dr. Maura L. Gillison says, "Our data suggest that oral HPV infections that could predispose to cancer may be transmitted by very common behaviors such as open-mouth or 'French' kissing. HPV is associated with gonorrheal pharyngitis - a sexually transmitted infection of the tonsils and back of the throat that immediately causes symptoms and now is associated with mouth HPV infections that are silent yet may lead to oral cancer 10 to 20 years later." The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2009.


Head and neck cancer
Despite an overall slight decline in head and neck cancers in recent years, cases of a particular form called oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) have increased sharply, particularly in the developed world. This growth seems to be linked to cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Two vaccines - Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline) and Gardasil (Merck & Co) -- are thought to prevent HPV, which causes virtually all cases of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women worldwide.


What is human papillomavirus?
HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can be passed on through genital contact or by skin-to-skin contact. At least 50 percent of people who have had sex will have HPV at some time in their lives. Most people don't have any signs of infection, and HPV may go away on its own. Both men and women may get the virus -- and pass it on -- without knowing it. There is no cure for the virus infection itself, but there are treatments for the health problems that HPV can cause such as genital warts, cervical changes, and cervical cancer. A recently approved vaccine called Gardasil creates resistance to four types of HPV but is not a treatment for an existing HPV infection.


HPV vaccine and risk
Autoimmun Rev. 2014. On the relationship between human papilloma virus vaccine and autoimmune diseases. The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines were introduced to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. The bivalent vaccine is effective against HPV-16, -18, -31, -33 and -45 while the quadrivalent vaccine is effective against HPV-16, 18, 31, 6 and 11 types. The immunisation, recommended for adolescent females, has led to high vaccine coverage in many countries. Along with the introduction of the HPV vaccines, several cases of onset or exacerbations of autoimmune diseases following the vaccine shot have been reported in the literature and pharmacovigilance databases, triggering concerns about its safety. This vaccination programme, however, has been introduced in a population that is at high risk for the onset of autoimmune diseases, making it difficult to assess the role of HPV vaccine in these cases and no conclusive studies have been reported thus far. We have thus analysed and reviewed comprehensively all case reports and studies dealing with either the onset of an autoimmune disease in vaccinated subject or the safety in patients with autoimmune diseases to define the role of the HPV vaccines in these diseases and hence its safety. A solid evidence of causal relationship was provided in few cases in the examined studies, and the risk vs. benefit of vaccination is still to be solved.


The HPV vaccine for cervical cancer and other diseases doesn't increase the risk for multiple sclerosis or other central nervous system disorders.


2007 - Texas Gov. Rick Perry has backed down in his effort to require that pre-teen girls be vaccinated against HPV virus after the Texas state legislature overturned his order. The February 2007 order would have made Texas the first U.S. state to require that girls receive the Merck & Co. Inc.'s vaccine against human papillomavirus ( HPV ) so they can enroll in sixth grade, when most students are 11 or 12 years old.


No evidence that getting the cervical cancer vaccine will encourage young girls to engage in sexual activity or give them a false sense of security about sex. The study found that what a girl believes about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has no bearing on her decision to become sexually active or engage in risky sexual behavior. Feb. 3, 2014, Pediatrics, online.


I have a ongoing issue with HPV. I have persistent infections and I'm looking for a natural solution.  Viral expressions are small bumps all over, the number seems to be increasing and this need to be addressed quickly. Prick like a needle when the replicate, red rash on lower legs. Wart like lumps that seem to be tougher than normal skin. I have purchased a bottle of AHCC.


Q. I know I have HPV and it has devastated my life. I know that eventually that a test to determine infection will be possible some day in hetro sexual men such as myself. To prepre I wish to get on AHCC. Would it be reasonable to ask my doctor to put me on it and is it available by prescription? It can be rather pricey and I worry about affordability. My research says AHCC 3000mg a day for almost a year. As so to bombard the virus with an immune system that it can't win against.
   A. As of 2018 I am not aware of studies evaluating the role of AHCC supplement in the prevention or treatment of HPV virus.


Q. I'm male and unfortunately I have HPV (the genital warts kind) and have been looking into alternative remedies to repair the immune system. There is positive research for AHCC (Shiitake), Reishi, and Colorius Versicolor (Turkey Tail). Right now I am taking all of these daily at doses: Colorius: 9g/day. AHCC: 3g/day. Reishi: 5g/day. I am worried about the DHT blocking abilities / anti-androgenic influence / effects on 5-alpha-reductase. Am I overdoing it? I've heard Reishi especially can have some pretty bad effects on libido / erection quality, etc.
   A. It is very difficult to predict the effects of one mushroom supplement let alone a combination of several at high doses. I have not seen such studies and therefore it is very difficult to predict the outcomes.