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  • 1 University of Debrecen Department of Microbiology, Medical Faculty Debrecen
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Benign tumors and lesions of the anogenital tract are caused by human papillomaviruses (HPVs). They are also major risk factors for cervical cancer. Introduction of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) revealed that HPV infections are much more common among young asymptomatic women than it had been previously suspected. The side-specificity of genital HPVs led to the assumption that HPVs were primarily transmitted by sexual contact. However, since HPVs have been detected in virgins, infants/children and juvenile laryngeal papillomatosis was shown to be caused by these viruses, it became acknowledged that HPVs may be transmitted by other – non-sexual – routes as well. The evidence for sexual and different non-sexual routes of transmission of HPVs will be reviewed here.

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