HPV is a very common virus group from the human papilloma virus.  HPV has more than than 100 types identified so far.  Some types can cause genital warts and cancer, including cancer of the cervix, vulva, penis, anus, and throat.  The good news is that the there is a vaccine to prevent it!

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 don’t even know it.  They may have no symptoms whatsoever.
  • However,  symptoms depend on which type of the virus you may have, whether you have been vaccinated and your general health.
  • Genital warts are cauliflower-like growths that appear on the penis, anus or vulva and can be itchy, painful during sex, bleed with sex or shaving, may increase in size and amount during pregnancy.
  • Abnormal pap tests, bleeding between periods or after sex should be followed up on
  • Any bleeding, itchiness, or pain to vulva, penis, anus or throat should be checked out

How do I prevent this?

  • Condoms and dental dams reduce transmission but do not provide full protection
  • HPV vaccination, even if you’ve had an HPV infection already, is a great option

How do I get tested?

  • Warts are diagnosed by visual inspection
  • Cervical cancer & HPV related changes can be found through pap testing
  • Examination of other areas if there is any concern

What if I test positive?

  • Treatment for genital warts is available
  • Any abnormal pap tests should be followed up on and treatment is available if needed

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