Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the virus that causes cervical cancer in women and genital warts in men and women. It is a virus that can be transmitted through sexual contact. During sex or oral sex, HPV can reach the genitals, mouth, or throat and cause an infection. You can get HPV if you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex with a person who has the virus.
Most often, it spreads during vaginal or anal sex. It also spreads through direct skin-to-skin contact during sexual intercourse. A person with HPV can transmit the infection to another person even if they have no signs or symptoms. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of more than 100 viruses that are usually spread through sexual contact.
HPV infection is extremely common; it is estimated that there are more than 14 million new infections in the United States each year and more than 80 percent of sexually active men and women will be infected during their lifetime. Most new infections occur in teens and young adults. HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer and can also cause cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth and throat. The virus also causes genital warts.
The most common type of cancer currently caused by HPV is oropharyngeal (throat) cancer, more common in men. People can spread the virus even if they don't have symptoms and even if it's been years since they were first infected. Genital HPV infections are contracted through sexual intercourse, anal sex, and other skin-to-skin contact in the genital region. Some HPV infections that cause oral or upper respiratory tract lesions are contracted through oral sex.
HPV affecting the genitals is very common. Approximately 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV, and approximately 14 million people are infected each year. Most men and women, about 80 percent of sexually active people become infected with HPV at some point in their lives, but most people never know they have the virus. Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States.
About 80% of women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their life.1 It is usually spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Many women don't know they have HPV because it usually doesn't have symptoms and it usually goes away on its own. Some types of HPV can cause diseases such as genital warts or cervical cancer. There is a vaccine to help prevent HPV.
Teens and young adults who start the vaccine series later, between the ages of 15 and 26, should continue to receive three doses of the vaccine. Teens and young adults who start the series later, between the ages of 15 and 26, need three doses of the HPV vaccine. Most sexually active adults have already been exposed to HPV, although not necessarily all types of HPV targeted by vaccination. Nearly 85% of adults between the ages of 18 and 65 will have at least one strain of HPV at some point in their lives.
Adults ages 27 to 45 should talk to a health professional to find out if the HPV vaccine is right for them. However, some adults ages 27 to 45 who are not yet vaccinated may decide to get an HPV vaccine after talking with their healthcare provider about the risk of new HPV infections and the potential benefits of vaccination.