HPV Key Facts

Facts about HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)

  • 80% of unvaccinated adults will have an HPV infection at some point and because in most people it causes no symptoms it is unavoidably shared mainly through sexual (including oral) skin to skin contact
  • In most people the virus is harmless and causes no symptoms and will not develop into pre cancer or cancer.
  • HPV can cause cancers in both men and women. Including cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal and head and neck cancers in women and penile, anal and head and neck cancers in men.
  • HPV also causes genital warts, which are harmless and different to the types of HPV that can cause cancer.
  • Partners who have been together tend to share HPV. There is no way to know which partner transmitted HPV. Having HPV does not mean that a person or his/her partner is having sex outside the relationship.
  • There are treatments for the conditions caused by HPV, but not for the virus itself.
  • HPV does not affect fertility.
  • HPV does not stop you having a normal sex life.
  • There is no HPV test to check HPV status. This means there is no test that can help answer the questions “Do I have HPV?”, “Does my partner have HPV?”, “Has my HPV gone?”, “Can I have the vaccine?”
  • There are specific HPV tests that are used in cervical screening to help determine who is at increased risk of cervical cancer.
  • Vaccination against HPV infection has been available for many years, and protects against HPV cancers
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