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Can Herpes Cause Cervical Cancer

How Can I Avoid Hpv And The Health Problems It Can Cause

This Is How HPV Causes Cancer

You can do several things to lower your chances of getting HPV.

Get vaccinated. The HPV vaccine is safe and effective. It can protect against diseases caused by HPV when given in the recommended age groups.

Get screened for cervical cancer. Routine screening for women aged 21 to 65 years old can prevent cervical cancer.

If you are sexually active:

  • Use condoms the right way every time you have sex. This can lower your chances of getting HPV. But HPV can infect areas the condom does not cover. So, condoms may not fully protect against getting HPV and
  • Be in a mutually monogamous relationship or have sex only with someone who only has sex with you.

What Type Of Cancer Causes Herpes

A herpes virus causes Burketts lymphoma in humans another causes nasopharyngeal cancer in humans. Herpes simplex viruses are common in men in cervical and vaginal sores in women and in the genital tract in men .

Can herpes affect the cervix?

In women, genital herpes usually causes blistering lesions on the vulva and around the vaginal opening that progress to forming ulcers. The infection spreads to the cervix in most cases, leading to cervicitis .

Hsv And Hpv Serostatus

Blood samples were collected from eligible subjects at mobile examination center, and shipped to Emory University or CDC for HSV or HPV analysis, respectively. Serostatus of HSV1 and HSV2 were accessed by solid-phase enzymatic immunodot assay using virus type-specific purified glycoprotein as antigen, and the outcomes were categorized as positive, negative and indeterminate. Competitive Multiplexed Luminex Assay was employed to determine HPV serostatus by simultaneously measuring antibodies against HPV-16 and -18. Readouts of this assay were quantitative, and were presented as arbitrary units . Threshold for positive results were defined to generate qualitative results for HPV-16 and -18. Multiplexing the assay has little to no effect on the simplex standard curves for HPV-16 and -18 , revealing limited cross-reactivity . The detailed methodology is available in the NHANES laboratory procedure manual . For analytic purpose, four additional variables were created: seropositivity for HSV1 or HSV2, both HSV1 and HSV2, HPV , and both HPV and HSV2.

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Does Herpes Raise Your Cancer Risk

It’s scary to say, but genital herpes is incredibly common: nationwide, 16.2 percent, or about one out of six, people 14 to 49 years of age have genital HSV-2 infection. Most cases of genital herpes are caused by a herpes simplex virus called HSV-2, though some cases of this sexually transmitted disease are caused by another herpes simplex virus, HSV-1. While herpes is treatable, it’s also packs a variety of risks. And one worry is whether herpes could, in fact, increase one’s risk of cancer.

While herpes is not directly linked to the development of cervical or oral cancer, Human Papilloma Virus , another group of viruses, is associated with some cancers. A large number of people with HPV have come down with penile, head or neck cancer, says Joshua Rosenberg, MD, an infectious diseases specialist and associate director of the intensive care unit at Long Island College Hospital in New York. And, he adds, having herpes might lead to an increased risk of invasive cervical cancer in patients co-infected with HPV.

“The strongest link between the two illnesses is that people who have herpes are frequently co-infected with HPV,” Rosenberg says. “But there is not a direct link between herpes and cancer.”

To further confuse matters, HPV isn’t just one virus, but more than 100 related viruses. Only some types of HPV appear to cause cancer.

Here’s what the American Cancer Society recommends for women:

Can I Get Genital Herpes More Than Once

Herpes Vs HPV: How Are They Different?

There isnt a cure for HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes. Infections can come back . Recurring symptoms are usually milder than the first outbreak. Symptoms dont last as long with later outbreaks. Some people may only have one or two outbreaks during their lifetime. Others may have as many as four or five outbreaks a year.

After infection, the virus moves from skin cells to nerve cells. In the nerve cells, it becomes inactive . Certain things may reactivate the virus, such as:

  • Illness or fever.

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Viruses Infections And Cancer

When viruses cause an infection, they spread their DNA, affecting healthy cells genetic makeup and potentially causing them to turn into cancer. HPV infections, for instance, cause the virus DNA to combine with the hosts DNA, disrupting the normal function of cells. Other viruses, such as human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C virus , may increase a persons risk of developing cancer by affecting the bodys immune system. In most cases, specific viruses only affect specific cells in the body, such as common cold viruses that impact the lining of the nose and throat. Thats why certain viruses are only linked with certain kinds of cancer.

Although most people infected with HPV dont develop cancer, a few potent strains of the virus cause the vast majority of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women worldwide. HPV causes about 98 percent of cervical cancer cases, so it is of high concern, Dr. Godbee says. Patients with HPV should have appropriate testing performed at the time of diagnosis, such as with a colposcopy, and should be followed routinely with screening exams. The Pap test, or Pap smear, allows doctors to detect pre-cancerous changes in cervical cells, helping to facilitate early intervention efforts designed to prevent cervical cancer from developing. After the introduction of the Pap test in the 1950s, the rate of cervical cancer dropped significantly, Dr. Godbee says.

Treatment For Cell Changes Caused By Hpv Infection

Although HPV infection itself cannot be treated, there are treatments for the precancerous cell changes caused by infection with high-risk HPV.

Precancerous cervical cell changes: Most women who have precancerous cervical cell changes are treated with the loop electrosurgical excision procedure , which is a method to remove the abnormal tissue.

Learn more about treatments for abnormal cervical cell changes.

: Treatment methods include topical medicines, surgical excision, cryosurgery, and laser therapy.

HPV-related cancers: Individuals who develop an HPV-related cancer generally receive the same treatment as patients with tumors at the same site that are not related to HPV infection. However, patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer may receive different treatments than patients whose oropharyngeal cancers are not caused by HPV.

Learn more about treatment options for oropharyngeal cancer, including targeted therapy and new types of treatment such as immunotherapy being tested in clinical trials.

Read Also: When Is The Best Time To Test For Herpes

Can Herpes Develop Into Cancer

Human Herpes Virus 8 Infection causes them to divide too much and live longer than they should. These types of changes can eventually turn them into cancerous cells. HHV-8 is sexually transmitted and also appears to be spread by other means, such as through blood and saliva.

Can herpes and HPV cause cancer?

The risk of cervical cancer increases if women with HPV also have a herpes infection. According to a pooled analysis of case-control studies, women with human papillomavirus infection of the cervix are at greater risk of invasive cervical cancer if they also have of genital herpes.

What diseases can herpes cause?

Complications associated with genital herpes can include:

  • Other sexually transmitted infections. Having genital sores increases your risk of passing on or getting other sexually transmitted infections, including AIDS.
  • Newborn infection.
  • Rectal inflammation .

Can herpes kill you if left untreated?

The Unknown Risks of a Common Virus Aside from these cold sores, HSV-1 is the most common cause of sporadic encephalitis . And although this brain infection is very rare, it kills more than 50% of those infected if left untreated, according to the National Institutes of Health.

What Std Can Be Mistaken For Herpes

Mayo Clinic Minute: HPV Vaccine Prevents Cancer

Because herpes has symptoms that can mirror the symptoms associated with various other viruses and conditions, it is easy to mistake herpes for something else.

Herpes symptoms can be mistaken for many other things, including:

  • A different STI that causes visible lesions, such as syphilis or HPV
  • Irritation caused by shaving

If you suspect you may have a herpes infection, consult with your healthcare physician to get tested for herpes.

Want to test for STDs from the comfort of your own home? Screening for high-risk HPV genotypes can be done from home with the at-home HPV Test. Everlywell also offers STD tests for men and women so you can check for 6 other common sexually transmitted infections, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis C, HIV, and trichomoniasis.

After you receive your kit, you collect your sample at home, send it to a lab for testing, and receive your digital results in days.


1. Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Accessed February 11, 2021.

2. Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Accessed February 11, 2021.

3. HPV infection. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed February 11, 2021.

4. Genital herpes. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed February 11, 2021.

5. Human Papillomavirus Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Accessed February 11, 2021.

Also Check: How Do You Know You Have Herpes Without Symptoms

What Causes Symptoms To Come Back

When symptoms recur, they usually come on during times of emotional stress or illness. Thats because, during these times, your bodys immune system may be less able to suppress the virus and keep it from becoming active.

Symptom triggers can include:

  • Interfere with a persons sense of security and intimacy

In some cases, though, complications from genital herpes can be serious, even life-threatening.

Although its rare, pregnant women can pass on the herpes infection to their child. This can result in a serious and sometimes deadly infection in the baby. Thats why taking steps to prevent an outbreak at time of delivery is recommended starting at 34 weeks into the pregnancy. If you have signs of an active viral infection when its time to deliver, your doctor will likely recommend a cesarean section for delivery.


People with genital herpes have a higher risk of an HIV infection. One reason is that cracks and breaks in the skin that result from an outbreak create openings through which HIV can enter the body.

If you have any reason to believe you may have an HSV infection as the result of a sexual encounter either genital or oral contact your health care provider.

Viruses Linked To Cancer

There are few viruses that have been linked to cancer. Yet some of them are quite common.

Epstein-Barr virus

This virus is best known for causing mononucleosis . Most people in the U.S. will get EBV at some point, whether or not they actually get sick. EBV will stay in your body for life, usually not causing problems.

However, EBV can sometimes trigger a type of lymphoma, cancer of the lymphatic system.

While theres no vaccine for the Epstein-Barr virus, you can limit your exposure by not sharing personal items, food, drinks or kissing someone who has it.

Hepatitis B and C

These viruses spread through contact with infected blood and having sex with a person who is infected. People with these viruses have hepatitis or an inflamed liver. If the infection lasts a long time, it can permanently damage your liver, called cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer.

While medication can help get rid of hepatitis C, medication for hepatitis B doesnt cure it. It can help lower the chances of liver damage and liver cancer.

There is a vaccine available for hepatitis B.

Human herpes virus 8

This virus is spread mostly through saliva, but may also be spread through sexual contact or blood. While it doesnt cause symptoms in most people who have it, it can cause Kaposi sarcoma, especially in people with a weakened immune system.

Practicing safe sex by using condoms and limiting your number of sexual partners can lessen your chance of becoming infected with human herpes virus 8.

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I Hope That This Study Changes The Dialogue Around Herpes Research And Opens Up The Idea That We Can Start Thinking About Cure Rather Than Just Control Of The Virus

â Dr. Keith Jerome, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Whereas most research on herpes has focused on suppressing the recurrence of painful symptoms, the Fred Hutch gene therapy work addresses the root cause of reactivation: the presence of latent virus in infected nerve cells.

âI hope that this study changes the dialogue around herpes research and opens up the idea that we can start thinking about cure, rather than just control of the virus,â Jerome said.

It will still take a long time before these experiments lead to the first human trials of gene therapy to cure herpes. Jerome estimates that will be at least three years away.

Herpes simplex viruses afflict billions of human beings around the globe. According to the World Health Organization, two-thirds of the world population under the age of 50 carry herpes simplex virus type 1, or HSV-1, which primarily causes cold sores, while 491 million people aged 15-49 are infected with closely related HSV-2, which is the cause of sexually transmitted genital herpes.

Does Herpes Cause Other Health Problems

Female STD Signs

Complications associated with genital herpes can include: Other sexually transmitted infections. Having genital sores increases your risk of passing on or getting other sexually transmitted infections, including AIDS. Newborn infection.

Can a herpes simplex virus cause cervical cancer?

It is transmitted venereal. Herpes simplex virus type 2 has been epidemiologically associated with cervical cancer. It has been found in prostate cancer cells. In a hybridization experiment with DNA from cervical cancer cells, herpes simplex virus type 2 DNA was found, but 60% of the viral DNA molecule was missing.

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Hpv And Cervical Cancer

A few types of HPV are the main causes of cervical cancer, which is the second most common cancer among women worldwide. Cervical cancer has become much less common in the United States because the Pap test has been widely available for many years. This test can show pre-cancer in cells of the cervix that might be caused by HPV infection. These pre-cancer cells can then be destroyed or removed, if needed. This can keep cancer from developing.

Doctors can now also test for HPV as part of cervical cancer screening, which can tell them if someone might be at higher risk for cervical cancer. Nearly all individuals with cervical cancer show signs of HPV infection on lab tests. Even though doctors can test people with a cervix for HPV, there is no treatment directed at HPV itself. But there is a vaccine that can help prevent it. If the HPV causes abnormal cells to start growing, these cells can be removed or destroyed.

See HPV and HPV Testing for more information on this topic.

Kshv Mirnas Targeting Cellular And Viral Mrnas

KSHV miRNAs have been found to modulate diverse biological pathways by targeting cellular regulatory genes involved in cell cycle, cellular differentiation and metabolism, apoptosis and angiogenesis but also lytic and latent phases of viral life cycle.

KSHV encodes 12 pre-miRNA genes. Gottwein and colleagues reported that KSHV targets many different cellular mRNAs by one or multiple viral miRNAs to affect host survivial pathways. For instance THBS1, an angiogenesis inhibitor, is targeted by several KSHV miRNAs including miR-K1, -3, -6 and -11. miR-K12-1 also suppresses growth arrest by targeting p21 and affects NFB activation through NFKBIA. There are several viral targets of KSHV miRNAs as well. miR-K12-9 together with miR-K12-5 target RTA to maintain latency and are essential for controlling KSHV replication and latency.

S.K. Tan, B.A. Pinsky, in, 2017

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Can Herpes Be Prevented Or Avoided

The best way to prevent getting herpes is to not have sex with anyone who has the virus. It can be spread even when the person who has it isnt showing any symptoms. If your partner has herpes, there is no way of knowing for sure that you wont get it.

There is no time that is completely safe to have sex and not spread herpes. If you have herpes, you must tell your sex partner. You should avoid having sex if you have any sores. Herpes can spread from one person to another very easily when sores are present.

You should use condoms every time you have sex. They can help reduce the risk of spreading herpes. But its still possible to spread or get herpes if youre using a condom.

How To Lower Your Chance Of Getting Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer, HPV, and Pap Test, Animation

You cannot always prevent cervical cancer. But there are things you can do to lower your chances of getting cervical cancer.

Cervical screening and HPV vaccination are the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.

  • All women and people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 64 are invited for regular cervical screening. It helps find and treat any changes in the cells of the cervix before they can turn into cancer.
  • All children aged 12 to 13 are offered the HPV vaccine. It helps protect against all cancers caused by HPV, as well as genital warts.

You can also lower your chance of getting cervical cancer by:

  • using condoms, which lower your chance of getting HPV but they do not cover all the skin around your genitals so you’re not fully protected
  • quitting smoking smoking can weaken your immune system and the chemicals in cigarettes can also cause cervical cancer
  • eating a balanced diet to help support your immune system

It’s important to get any symptoms of cervical cancer checked by a GP.

Page last reviewed: 02 September 2021 Next review due: 02 September 2024

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