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TEAM UP Tennessee: HPV Information

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can affect both men and women. More than 50% of sexually active men and women have HPV at some point in their lives. Young people between the ages of 15-24 account for 75% of all new HPV cases.

HPV Types

There are over 100 different strains of HPV. About 40 strains commonly infect the genitals/sex organs. HPV strains are divided into two types — "high-risk" and "low-risk." High-risk HPV types are those that can lead to cervical cancer, anal and penile cancers, head and neck cancers, and most recently have been linked to some types of lung cancer. Low-risk HPV types are those that are not a precursor to cancer, but can cause other symptoms such as genital warts.

HPV Transmission

HPV is easily spread through skin to skin contact. Vaginal, anal and oral sex are all modes of transmission. Condoms can reduce the risk of transmission but do not eliminate this risk.

HPV Symptoms

HPV infections often do not have any noticeable symptoms. Most people "clear"* HPV infections within two years. Possible, but rare, symptoms include: bleeding, pain or discharge. Some HPV infections result in genital warts in the ano-genital area. Sometimes the virus is dormant and produces symptoms a long time after the initial infection. This can make it difficult to "track down" when or from whom a person contracted HPV.

HPV Treatment

Treatment of an HPV infection will depend on the symptoms present (i.e. genital warts, precancerous lesions, etc.). There are a variety of treatment options available for genital warts. Some are performed in your doctor’s office and others can be applied at home. If cell changes are present in the cervix that reflect pre-cervical cancer or cervical cancer, treatment will depend on the severity of the changes and whether or not these cell changes have spread to surrounding tissues.

Helpful Links to General HPV/ Cervical Cancer Information

Facts and Information About HPV and Genital Warts

Genital HPV Infection

Genital HPV – The Facts

HPV: Common Infection. Common Reality

Cervical Dysplasia FAQs

Facts and Information About Cervical Cancer Diagnosis, Symptoms and Treatment

Reproductive Health FAQs

Treatments for Genital Warts and Cervical Cancer

HPV Treatment: Is There an HPV Cure?

What Every Woman Should Know About Cervical Cancer and the Human Papilloma Virus

Human Papillomaviruses and Cancer: Questions & Answers

Common Questions about HPV and Cervical Cancer (For Women Who Have HPV)

HPV Myths and Misconceptions

Fast Facts about HPV

Frequently Asked Questions about HPV

*This may mean the virus is gone, or it may mean that the immune system has found a way to keep it in check. Current research is not conclusive on this subject.