Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection with most sexually active men and women being exposed to the virus at some point during their lifetime.1,2
The virus is common in the United States, there are approximately 14 million newly diagnosed cases of HPV annually.2 HPV is comprised of approximately 100-150 viral strands, with more than 40 affecting the genitals.1,3
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You will also see introductions at the end of some sections to any recent developments that have been covered by MNT's news stories. Also look out for links to information about related conditions.
Fast facts on human papillomavirus
Here are some key points about human papillomavirus. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.
- Around 80% of sexually active men and women will contract the HPV virus at some point during their lifetime.2
- Annually, there are 14 million newly diagnosed cases of HPV.2
- There are approximately 79 million men/women actively infected with the virus at any point in time.2
- HPV is not spread via bodily fluid; it is a skin-to-skin contact virus and can infect anyone who is or has ever been sexually active and many times, most infected individuals are asymptomatic, meaning they display no symptoms of the virus.1,2
- HPV can be spread through oral, vaginal or anal sex.1,2
- At times, HPV can be transmitted during birth to an infant causing genital or respiratory system infections.3
- There is no cure for HPV.2
- The strains of HPV known to cause genital warts are low-risk HPV 6 and 11, while the strains of HPV associated with cancer include high-risk HPV 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58.2
What is human papillomavirus?
While most HPV infections are benign causing warts on areas of the body including the hands, feet and genitals, there are certain strains that put a person at a higher risk of developing certain types of cancers.1-3
HPV is a common and highly contagious infection that can affect your skin, cervix, anus, mouth and throat.
The strains of HPV, which cause a person to develop warts, is not the same group of HPV strains that cause cancer.1
The strains of HPV known to cause genital warts are low-risk HPV 6 and 11, while the strains of HPV associated with cancer include high-risk HPV 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58.2
HPV is a virus which is passed skin-to-skin through sexual intercourse or other forms of skin-to-skin contact of the genitals.
HPV can infect anyone who is or has ever been sexually active, and sometimes the most infected individuals are asymptomatic, meaning they display no symptoms of the virus.1-3
Most HPV infections self-resolve on their own, however, at times they can remain dormant and later infect a new or existing sexual partner.2
At times, HPV can be transmitted during birth to an infant causing the infant to experience a genital or respiratory system infection.3
On the next page we look at the symptoms and diagnosis of HPV. On the final page we discuss the treatments for human papillomavirus and the ways in which you can prevent contracting it.