HPV stands for the human papillomavirus. If left untreated, this virus can lead to some forms of genital cancers and warts in both women and men. The virus can infect the throat or genital areas such as the vulva, vagina, cervix, rectum, anus, penis, or scrotum. HPV is easily transmitted through skin-to-skin and sexual contact.
There are many strands of HPV. The HPV vaccine protects against the strands of HPV that cause most cases of cervical cancer - the second-most common type of cancer among women worldwide - as well as many forms of genital warts. This vaccine is given in a series of three shots administered over six months.