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Human papillomaviruses (HPV)

Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are common viruses that can cause warts. There are more than 100 types of HPV. Most are harmless, but about 30 types put individuals at risk for cancer. These types affect the genitals and are acquired them through sexual contact with an infected partner and are classified as either low-risk or high-risk. Low-risk HPV can cause genital warts. High-risk HPV can lead to cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus in women. In men, HPV can lead to cancers of the anus and penis.

Although some individuals develop genital warts from HPV infections, others have no symptoms. A health care provider can treat or remove the warts. In women, Pap smears can detect changes in the cervix that might lead to cancer.

Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading HPV. A vaccine can protect against several types of HPV, including some that can cause cancer.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

For additional information, please click here http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hpv-infection/DS00906

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