HPV FAQ

If I have contact with someone with warts, will I get HPV-related cancer?

Warts and cancers are caused by different types of HPV. It is possible to be infected with HPVs that cause warts as well as the HPV types that can have more serious consequences such as cancer. So, while warts generally do not progress to cancer, you may still be at risk. You should talk to your healthcare provider about vaccination or getting screened for pre-cancers.

I’m a boy – do I need to know about HPV?

Yes—you are at risk for HPV and the cancers that it causes. HPV can cause genital warts as well as cancers of the anus, penis and mouth/throat in men. You can also spread HPV to your sexual partners. All of the currently available vaccines prevent infection with HPV types that cause most HPV-related cancers, and some vaccines also protect against the types that cause genital warts. The most important step you can take to prevent HPV is to get vaccinated before you have sex

I’ve never had sex – should I get screened for HPV?

If you’ve never sexual contact of any kind, your risk of getting genital or anal HPV is very low, but vaccination and screening may be sensible protective measures for the future. The vaccine is most effective if given before you have any sexual contact. Talk to your healthcare provider.

How do I get HPV?

The types of HPV that can cause cancer in the genital region, anal region, and throat are mostly spread through sexual contact. They can also spread from one part your genital skin or throat to another part of your genital skin or throat.

How do I avoid getting HPV?

HPV is a common virus and avoiding it can be difficult. About 8 out of 10 sexually active people get at least one genital HPV infection at some point in their lives! But there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk: 1) The best way to prevent HPV is to be vaccinated at the recommended age. Get vaccinated to prevent HPV infection if you are eligible for the vaccine, or if your health care provider thinks you might benefit from it. Vaccination can prevent 90% of cervical and anal cancers and most other cancers caused by HPV. 2) Use condoms whenever you can. Consistent condom use can reduce (but not eliminate) the risk of getting HPV. This is because HPV is passed on by skin-to-skin contact. Condoms only partially protect the skin of the genital region. The more consistent the use of condoms, the higher the amount of protection. Condom use 100% of the time reduces the risk of spreading HPV by about 70%. Less consistent use means less protection. 3)The fewer sexual partners you or your partner have, the lower your risk of getting HPV.

What is HPV?

HPV means “human papillomavirus”. It’s a very common virus. 8 out of 10 men and women will get it at some point. Lots of people have never heard of it, but HPVs are a very big family of viruses. There are around 200 types of HPV. Some types of HPV are transmitted by sexual contact and infect the skin cells of the genital region and the mouth and throat. Most cause no harm. But some HPVs cause warts and some can cause cancers. Both men and women get cancer from HPV, and rates are accelerating fastest in men. These cancers include cervical cancer and cancer of the penis, anus, vagina, vulva, and throat.

Should my daughter get screened?

Most countries have guidelines on cervical cancer screening and these guidelines should be followed. Vaccinated girls are at much lower risk of cervical pre-cancers or cancers than un-vaccinated girls. Vaccinating your daughter could reduce the number of screenings and potential surgical treatments your daughter and any young women you care about might need. However, even if your daughter has been vaccinated, she will still need to have cervical screening, following the cervical cancer screening policies in your location.

If I have HPV while pregnant, will it affect my baby?

HPV is not easily spread from mother to infants. On rare occasions, babies born to mothers who have genital warts at the time of delivery may pick up the virus while they are passing through the birth canal. The babies may later develop warts in the larynx that may require surgical treatment. Vaccinating against the HPV types that cause genital warts dramatically reduces the risk of mothers passing HPV to their babies.

Is the HPV vaccine safe for my child?

Yes. All government-approved HPV vaccines have been extensively and independently evaluated. All scientific evidence shows that these HPV vaccines are extremely safe. The World Health Organization (WHO) and virtually all countries in the world now recommend HPV vaccination. With hundreds of millions of doses distributed, no significant side effects have been identified other than the temporary reaction at the injection site.

I have a son-should he be vaccinated for HPV?

Yes—regardless of sex or gender we are all at risk for HPV- it’s sexually transmitted. HPV can cause genital warts as well as cancers of the anus, penis and mouth/throat. HPV is also easily passed to sexual partners. Vaccination is the most effective way to protect your children from genital warts and HPV-related cancers. Vaccination is most effective when given prior to initiation of sexual activity. If you can, get your child vaccinated!

How do I avoid getting HPV?

HPV is a common virus and avoiding it can be difficult. About 8 out of 10 sexually active people get at least one genital HPV infection at some point in their lives! But there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk: 1) The best way to prevent HPV is to be vaccinated at the recommended age. Get vaccinated to prevent HPV infection if you are eligible for the vaccine, or if your health care provider thinks you might benefit from it. Vaccination can prevent 90% of cervical and anal cancers and most other cancers caused by HPV. 2) Use condoms whenever you can. Consistent condom use can reduce (but not eliminate) the risk of getting HPV. This is because HPV is passed on by skin-to-skin contact. Condoms only partially protect the skin of the genital region. The more consistent the use of condoms, the higher the amount of protection. Condom use 100% of the time reduces the risk of spreading HPV by about 70%. Less consistent use means less protection. 3)The fewer sexual partners you or your partner have, the lower your risk of getting HPV.

What is HPV?

HPV means “human papillomavirus”. It’s a very common virus. 8 out of 10 men and women will get it at some point. Lots of people have never heard of it, but HPVs are a very big family of viruses. There are around 200 types of HPV. Some types of HPV are transmitted by sexual contact and infect the skin cells of the genital region and the mouth and throat. Most cause no harm. But some HPVs cause warts and some can cause cancers. Both men and women get cancer from HPV, and rates are accelerating fastest in men. These cancers include cervical cancer and cancer of the penis, anus, vagina, vulva, and throat.

How do I avoid getting HPV-related cancer?

1) Take action to avoid getting HPV see 'How do I avoid getting HPV?' 2) Get screened for cervical cancer. HPV can cause changes that over time may progress to cancer. The initial stages of these changes are called “pre-cancer.” Cervical screening can help detect cervical pre-cancer, and treatment of the pre-cancer can reduce your risk of cancer. Cervical screening provides important protection against cervical cancer whether you have been vaccinated or not. Talk to your healthcare provider about cervical screening policies in your area.

If I get HPV will I get cancer?

Only a very small number of people who get HPV go on to develop cancer. Having HPV does not mean that you will get cancer and most HPV infections do not cause problems. However, it is still very important to try to reduce your risk of developing HPV-related cancer. Vaccination can prevent most cancers caused by HPV. It is important to reduce the risk by being vaccinated if you are eligible, or if your health care provider thinks you might benefit from it. The vaccine is most effective if given before a person has any sexual contact. In addition, cervical screening provides important protection against cervical cancer whether or not you have been vaccinated. See Q4 for steps you can take if you are concerned about HPV-related cancer. People with compromised immune systems, including those living with HIV, should take particular care to get vaccinated against HPV if eligible and be screened regularly. HPV vaccination is safe and effective for people living with HIV. As there are no routine, government approved screening programs for HPV-related cancers of the anus, penis or mouth/throat, it is important that you seek medical advice for any changes in those parts of your body, such as a new growth, pain or bleeding. In certain locations, there are providers who screen for anal cancer and pre cancer. Check with your health care provider to see if there are any anal cancer or pre cancer screening programs in your area.

How do I get HPV?

The types of HPV that can cause cancer in the genital region, anal region, and throat are mostly spread through sexual contact. They can also spread from one part your genital skin or throat to another part of your genital skin or throat.

How do I avoid getting HPV?

HPV is a common virus and avoiding it can be difficult. About 8 out of 10 sexually active people get at least one genital HPV infection at some point in their lives! But there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk: 1) The best way to prevent HPV is to be vaccinated at the recommended age. Get vaccinated to prevent HPV infection if you are eligible for the vaccine, or if your health care provider thinks you might benefit from it. Vaccination can prevent 90% of cervical and anal cancers and most other cancers caused by HPV. 2) Use condoms whenever you can. Consistent condom use can reduce (but not eliminate) the risk of getting HPV. This is because HPV is passed on by skin-to-skin contact. Condoms only partially protect the skin of the genital region. The more consistent the use of condoms, the higher the amount of protection. Condom use 100% of the time reduces the risk of spreading HPV by about 70%. Less consistent use means less protection. 3)The fewer sexual partners you or your partner have, the lower your risk of getting HPV.

What is HPV?

HPV means “human papillomavirus”. It’s a very common virus. 8 out of 10 men and women will get it at some point. Lots of people have never heard of it, but HPVs are a very big family of viruses. There are around 200 types of HPV. Some types of HPV are transmitted by sexual contact and infect the skin cells of the genital region and the mouth and throat. Most cause no harm. But some HPVs cause warts and some can cause cancers. Both men and women get cancer from HPV, and rates are accelerating fastest in men. These cancers include cervical cancer and cancer of the penis, anus, vagina, vulva, and throat.

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