Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a very common virus with more than 100 types identified. Some types can cause genital warts and cancer of the cervix, vulva, penis, anus, and throat.

How would I get it?

  • Spread through oral, vaginal or anal sex or intimate skin-to-skin contact with an infected partner

What kind of symptoms could I have if I am infected?

  • Many people contract HPV and do not know it as they do not develop symptoms
  • Whether symptoms develop depends on the type of virus you may have, whether you have been vaccinated and your general health
  • Genital warts are cauliflower-like growths that can be itchy, painful during sex, bleed with sex or shaving, and may increase in size and amount during pregnancy
  • Abnormal pap tests, bleeding between periods or after sex, itchiness, or pain to vulva, penis, anus or throat should be investigated

How do I prevent this?

  • Condoms and dental dams reduce transmission but do not provide full protection due to skin to skin transmission, thus no barrier method is 100% effective
  • There is a vaccine to prevent against the common types of HPV that cause cancer (even if you have had an HPV infection before)

How do I get tested?

  • A diagnosis can often be made by examination by a physician

What if I test positive?

  • Treatment for genital warts is available through prescription creams or cryotherapy

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