How does a person get infected with HPV besides sexual contact? Can I ever live a normal life with HPV?
Genital HPV is a sexually transmitted infection. The virus is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Transmission occurs during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. It can also be spread through other kinds of sexual activity, like body-rubbing. Rarely, it can spread from a woman to a fetus during childbirth.
HPV is a very common sexually transmitted infection that affects millions of women and men around the world. Most types of genital HPV cause no symptoms and most go away by themselves. But a few types of HPV can linger and cause genital warts, which may be uncomfortable and unattractive, but aren’t dangerous. A few other types of genital HPV, however, can linger and lead to cancer of the cervix, anus, penis, vagina, and vulva.
The best protection against cervical cancer for sexually active women is vaccination against HPV and regular Pap tests. The HPV vaccine protects against two types of HPV that cause genital warts and two types of HPV that cause about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. The HPV vaccine is recommended for all young women between nine and 26 years old.
One reason genital HPV is so common is that it’s highly contagious. About 75 percent of all sexually active people will become infected with HPV at some point in their lives. Two-thirds of people who come into contact with the virus will develop an infection within three months. As with non-genital HPV, some of these infections are visible, in the form of warts, while others are not. It’s also possible for someone to have more than one type of HPV infection at the same time.