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How is it spread?

It is spread through sexual contact with an infected person including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Ejaculation/orgasm does not need to occur for HPV to be spread.

Genital HPV infections are extremely common and most people who have sex get the virus at some point. Most people with HPV have no symptoms and don’t even know they’re infected.

The majority of genital HPV infections aren't harmful and clear on their own but there are certain types that can cause genital warts or certain types of cancer.

  • Genital warts are often caused by HPV (types 6 and 11) These are considered low-risk HPV because they don’t lead to serious health problems or cancer 

  • Various types of HPV can sometimes lead to cancer. Types 16 and 18 in particular lead to the majority of cancer cases. These are called high-risk HPV. Cervical cancer is most commonly linked to HPV, but HPV can also cause cancer in your vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth, and throat.

HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV)

HPV is a viral infection that is the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are over 100 types of HPV infections  

What symptoms should I look out for?

HPV infection is usually harmless and goes away on its own and most people with HPV do not have any symptoms. 

How is it treated?

There is no treatment for HPV and most cases will go away on their own. 

High-risk HPV can result in abnormal cells that could potentially lead to cancer. 

 

These cells can be detected during a pap/cervical smear test.  If detected then further tests or treatment may be required including:

 

  • Colposcopy — a procedure to look more closely at the cervix and look for abnormal or precancerous cells.

  • Cryotherapy — a treatment to freeze and remove precancerous cells from the cervix.

  • LEEP or Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure — a treatment to remove precancerous cells from the cervix using an electrical current.

Its spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex

Most infected people don't have any symptoms

How do I prevent it?

The only full proof way of preventing HPV is abstaining from sex - but we all know most people can't do that so..

Dental dams are also a very effective way of preventing STDs when engaging in oral sex.

 

Finally regular testing is extremely important in maintaining sexual health. You should aim to get tested at least once a year or every time you change sexual partner. 

The HPV Vaccine is a  very effective way of preventing 

infection