HPV is the commonest sexually transmitted viral infection in the United Kingdom and as such poses a major public health problem. In addition to the potential physical morbidity associated with genital warts, abnormal cervical cytology, and anogenital dysplasia and neoplasia, the associated psychological morbidity should not be forgotten. Although our knowledge of viral function and disease pathogenesis has advanced appreciably in recent years, we are still some way from developing an in vitro method of viral propagation. Vaccination against HPV infection will hopefully be achieved within the next 10 years, but a prevention and treatment strategy which is appropriate for both developed and developing nations must be our major long term goal.
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