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Signs and symptoms

  • Most types do not cause symptoms.
  • The types of HPV that cause cervical cancer usually cause no symptoms.
  • Some strains of HPV cause genital warts.
  • Signs of genital warts may be:
    • Soft, pink or flesh-colored bumps or swellings on or near the genitals, anus or upper thigh
    • Cauliflower-like growths on or near genitals, anus or upper thigh area
  • Most people who develop warts do so within 3-6 months after getting infected.


  • Anal or vaginal sex
  • Oral sex and genital to genital contact
  • Infected mother to baby at vaginal birth
  • People with HIV are more likely to get HPV and related health problems.


  • Get vaccinated against HPV (girls, boys, young women, young men).
  • Abstain from oral, anal and vaginal sex.
  • Use condoms/barriers consistently and correctly for oral, anal or vaginal sex.
  • Get regular, routine pap smear tests to prevent cervical cancer (women).
  • Get regular, routine health care exams, including STD tests.
  • If a partner has HPV, avoid sexual contact if warts are present and use condoms at all times.
  • Limit number of sex partners.


  • Most people with HPV control the infection without treatment.
  • If you have warts or if you are a woman with an abnormal pap smear, you may need treatment.
  • See a health care provider for exam and tests to figure out the best treatment.

If not treated...

  • Increased risk for certain cancers in women and men.
  • Can rarely be passed to infant at delivery; may cause warts in baby's throat or voice box.

If you have HPV...

  • Use condoms or barriers with vaginal and anal sex.
  • Learn about HPV and seek support from local groups or websites.
  • Seek medical care, including STD tests. Use all medicines as prescribed.
  • Notify recent sex partners that they were exposed to HPV and talk to new partners about it.
  • Get yearly STD screens including a pap smear test as indicated if you are female.
  • If pregnant, get tested for STDs and HIV.