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HPV (human papillomavirus) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is primarily transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. HPV is a group of viruses that can infect the skin and mucous membranes of various body parts.


1. Sexual contact:
HPV is primarily transmitted through sexual contact, including genital-to-genital contact, oral-genital contact, and anal-genital contact. The virus can be passed from one person to another through contact with the infected skin or mucous membranes.
2. Genital-to-genital contact:
Skin-to-skin contact between the genital areas of two people can transmit HPV. This includes contact between the penis and vagina, vulva, or anus, as well as contact between the mouth and genital area during oral sex.
3. Oral-genital contact:
HPV can be transmitted through oral sex when the mouth comes into contact with an infected genital area or vice versa. It can result in HPV infections in the throat, mouth, or genital area.
4. Anal-genital contact:
Anal sex can transmit HPV from one person to another, resulting in infections in the anus, rectum, or genital area.
5. Vertical transmission:
In rare cases, an infected pregnant woman can transmit HPV to her baby during childbirth. This type of transmission can lead to respiratory or genital infections in the newborn.


1. Genital warts:
Certain types of low-risk HPV can cause the development of genital warts. These warts can appear as small, flesh-colored or gray growths in the genital area. They may be raised or flat, single or clustered. Genital warts can occur on the vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, scrotum, anus, or surrounding areas. These warts can vary in size and may cause itching, discomfort, or pain.
2. Abnormal cell changes:
Some high-risk types of HPV can cause changes in the cells of the cervix, anus, vulva, vagina, penis, or throat. These changes may be detected through screening tests, such as Pap tests or HPV tests. Most of the time, these cell changes do not cause any noticeable symptoms.


1. HPV vaccination:
Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent HPV infection. The HPV vaccine is recommended for both males and females, typically starting in the early teens or preteen years. The vaccine provides protection against the most common high-risk and low-risk types of HPV that can cause genital warts and certain types of cancers. Completing the full series of HPV vaccinations according to the recommended schedule provides the best protection.
2. Safe sexual practices:
Practicing safe sex can reduce the risk of HPV transmission. Although condoms can’t provide complete protection against HPV, they can lower the risk of transmission. Using condoms consistently and correctly during sexual activity, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex, can help reduce the risk of HPV transmission and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
3. Limit sexual partners:
Reducing the number of sexual partners and having a mutually monogamous sexual relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be HPV-free can lower the risk of HPV transmission.
4. Regular screenings:
Regular cervical cancer screenings, such as Pap tests and HPV tests, are important for early detection of abnormal cell changes related to HPV. These screenings can help identify and manage precancerous cell changes before they progress to cervical cancer. Follow the recommended screening guidelines based on your age and risk factors.
5. Early vaccination:
HPV vaccination is most effective when administered before exposure to the virus. Vaccinating at a young age provides the best protection against HPV. However, even if you have already been sexually active, the HPV vaccine can still provide some level of protection, especially against types of HPV that you have not yet been exposed to.
6. Educate yourself:
Stay informed about HPV and its prevention. Learn about the benefits of vaccination, safe sexual practices, and regular screenings. Discuss HPV and its prevention with your healthcare provider to ensure you have accurate information and personalized guidance.


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