What is HPV?
HPV is a sexually
transmitted infection (STI) that is caused by Human Papillomavirus. It is a group of viruses that include different strains or types. HPV is NOT the same as HIV or genital herpes
Who Can Get HPV?
Both men and
women can be infected with one or more strains of the HPV virus. At least 50% of sexually active people get an HPV infection at some
point in their lives.
How Do You Get HPV?
The most common
way to spread HPV is through sexual contact with an infected person. Since most HPV infections have no signs or symptoms, many people are
unaware they are infected and can spread the virus.
Rarely, HPV is spread from a mother to a newborn baby during vaginal
What are the Symptoms of HPV?
Most people who
get HPV have no symptoms. Some get
visible genital warts or have changes to the cervix, vulva, anus or penis.
How Long After Exposure Do
Symptoms First Begin?
period of HPV can vary, so it is very hard to determine when the person got
How is HPV Diagnosed?
Most women are
diagnosed when they have an abnormal Pap test.
No HPV tests are available for men.
Are There Complications?
A small number of
people may get an infection that doesn't clear up. HPV infection can cause cervical and other cancers. A baby that
is exposed to HPV very rarely develops warts in the throat or voice box.
Is There Treatment for HPV?
There is no
"cure" for HPV infection, but in most people the infection goes away on its
own. There is treatment for the health problems that HPV causes, such as genital
warts, cervical changes and cervical cancer.
How can HPV be Prevented?
Vaccines can protect males and females against
the most common types of HPV. Vaccines
are given in three shots and work best when given before a person's first
sexual contact. Using condoms may also
lower the risk of getting HPV. You can
also lower your risk by being in a faithful relationship with one partner and
limiting your number of sex partners.