- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- What is HPV?
- How do you get genital HPV?
- How common is HPV? Who gets it?
- What are the symptoms of HPV?
- Can HPV be treated?
- Can HPV be prevented?
- What are the risk factors for genital HPV?
- HPV and cancer
- What about other HPV-related diseases?
- Testing for HPV
- If you test positive for HPV, what does it mean?
- Will HPV affect my pregnancy or my baby?
- Why should women over age 30 with normal test results change to co-testing every 5 years and start doing HPV testing? Is that safe?
- HPV vaccines
- Who should be vaccinated and when?
- What are the benefits of the vaccines?
- How much do the HPV vaccines cost? Are they covered by health insurance plans?
- Do you need to be tested for HPV before getting the vaccine?
- Do women and girls who have been vaccinated still need Pap tests?
- Can cervical cancer be prevented without a vaccine?
- Is the American Cancer Society in favor of vaccinating against HPV?
- Do you want more information?
What are the symptoms of HPV?
Genital HPV usually has no symptoms, unless it’s a type that causes genital warts. Genital warts may appear within weeks or months after contact with a partner who has HPV. More rarely, genital warts may show up years after exposure. The warts usually look like small bumps or groups of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. If they are not treated, genital warts might go away, stay and not change, or increase in size or number. But warts very rarely turn into cancer.
Most people will never know they have HPV because they have no symptoms and their immune system inactivates the virus. In about 90% of people, their immune system clears the HPV infection within 2 years. This is true of both high-risk and low-risk HPV types. Sometimes HPV infections are not cleared. This can lead to cell changes that over many years may develop into cancer.
Last Medical Review: 05/02/2013
Last Revised: 05/02/2013