Frequently Asked Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HPV

It’s only natural for parents to have concerns when it comes to human papillomavirus (HPV) and their children’s health. Perhaps the FAQs below can help answer your questions about the virus.

If you have more questions about HPV and how you can help protect your child against certain HPV-related cancers and diseases, be sure to talk to your child’s doctor or health care professional.

What is HPV?

What is HPV?

HPV is short for human papillomavirus, a family of very common and highly contagious viruses. There are more than 180 types of HPV and different types can cause different diseases.

Men and women can carry and transmit HPV through skin-to-skin contact. In fact, most people – regardless of gender – will have been exposed to HPV in their lifetime and for most people the virus goes away naturally.

 

What type of diseases could a HPV infection cause?

For most people, HPV goes away naturally; however if infection persists, the infected cells may begin to change and could, in time if left untreated, lead to certain HPV-related conditions or certain cancer types. Infection with certain types of HPV (particularly types 16 and 18) could cause vulval, vaginal, anal and cervical cancer. HPV types 6 and 11 are linked with developing genital warts.

 

How does a HPV infection occur?

HPV is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. The HPV types that cause cervical and other anogenital cancers and genital warts are mostly spread through sexual contact.

HPV infects an estimated 660 million women and men worldwide.1 Although some types of HPV can cause external genital warts or anogenital lesions, HPV infections may not present with clinical symptoms. As a result, many people are unaware that they have an HPV infection.

 

Is HPV the same as HSV (herpes)? And HIV?

No, HPV is different to HIV and HSV. Unlike HPV, HIV – human immunodeficiency virus - is a virus that attacks and destroys CD4-positive T cells, which are white blood cells that defend the body by searching for and fighting off infection. HSV on the other hand, is the herpes simplex virus, an infection that causes herpes. Herpes can appear in various parts of the body, most commonly on the genitals or mouth.

 

Who is at risk of HPV infection?

HPV is a very common virus that can affect both men and women. HPV is so common that a lot of sexually active people get it at some point in their lives. The virus is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and for most people the virus goes away naturally.

 

How can my child get HPV?

HPV can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. The HPV types that cause cervical and other anogenital cancers and genital warts are mostly spread through sexual contact.

Both men and women can become infected.

While your child may not be at risk now, the risk for getting HPV increases as they get older.

If you’re a parent who is concerned about HPV, do not hesitate to talk to your child’s doctor or health care professional. Together, you can talk about HPV and decide the best way to help protect your child.

 

How can I tell if I have HPV?

HPV infection often has no visible signs or symptoms. Anyone can unknowingly get the virus– and then pass it on. Most of the time the infection goes away naturally.

 

Does a cure or treatment exist for HPV?

Unfortunately, there are no available medicines that treat HPV infection. However, there are treatments for the HPV-related diseases that may develop. Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional to learn how to help prevent certain cancers and diseases later in life.

 

Where can I find reliable information regarding preventing HPV-related diseases?

For information on HPV and how to prevent it, contact your doctor or healthcare professional and ask how you can help protect you or your child from HPV-related cancers and diseases.

 

1 Meeting of the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, 7-8 June 2017. No. 28, 2017. 92, 393-404 http://www.who.int.wer

 

Know HPV
To view HPV.com, please turn your device back to the landscape position.

Know HPV
To view HPV.com, please turn your device back to the portrait position.