FAQs

Will most women with HPV get cervical cancer

No. Although an HPV infection can cause this form of cancer, most women with the infection do not develop the disease. It is important, however, for all women age 21 years and older to get screened routinely for cervical cancer. The frequency of such screening depends on your age and risk factors, which should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

Is human papillomavirus (HPV) common?

Yes, it is very common. The statistics vary, but generally it is believed the HPV infection is present in 45 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 59 and 40 percent of women of the same age range.

Can practicing safe sex prevent HPV infection?

Use of a condom and dental dams are encouraged to help protect against the infection. However, there is no guarantee these practices will protect you because the virus can be spread through skin-to-skin contact.

Does HPV cause other cancers besides cervical cancer?

Yes, the infection can cause anal, head & neck, penile, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.

Does HPV ever go away completely?

Once you have the virus, it can stay dormant in your body for the rest of your life, or it may become active at some point. For now, there is no known way to completely eliminate the virus from the body. In most people, their immune system either fights off or suppresses the virus before abnormal cells can develop.

Does HPV infection cause infertility?

No, the infection and the vaccine do not cause infertility. However, treatment for cervical cancer can cause female infertility.

Are males screened for HPV?

Although Pap smears are recommended for women age 21 years and older as a way to screen for HPV, there’s no routine HPV screening test recommended for males.

How can you tell if you have an HPV infection?

Check if you have genital warts. Hemorrhoids are the first sign for anal cancer, which is a result of HPV. Also, any lumps in the throat or neck are symptoms.

How is HPV associated with genital warts?

About 75 percent of people will develop genital warts after they have had any type of genital contact with someone who has the warts (and thus HPV).

Once genital warts are treated, can they come back?

Yes. Even after treatment (which can involve topical medication or freezing the warts), they can return. Approximately 25 percent of all cases recur within three months of treatment.

Can you be vaccinated for HPV even if you already have the infection?

If you have already been infected with the type of HPV that causes genital warts, you can still protect yourself against the types that can cause oral, penile, cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and head & neck cancers.

Can you get HPV without having sexual intercourse?

Yes. HPV is a skin-to-skin virus.

How can men know if they have an HPV infection?

Most of the information about HPV has centered on women because presence of the virus increases their risk of getting cervical cancer, anal, vaginal and vulvar cancers, and the virus can be detected in those cells. However, HPV infection can increase a man’s risk of developing head and neck, penile, and genital cancers, and all of these cancers are on the rise.