HPV is an extremely common virus. There are over 100 identified types of HPV. Some types of HPV can cause changes in the cells of the cervix, creating abnormalities. Once these abnormalities become severe they may develop into cancer.
Anybody who has ever been sexually active is at risk of contracting HPV. Genital HPV is transmitted primarily by genital-to-genital skin contact, and vaginal, and oral sex. The time from exposure to the virus to the development of warts or cervical disease is highly variable and the virus can remain dormant in some people for long periods of time. Often it is not possible to determine exactly when or from whom the infection originated. HPV is classified as a sexually transmitted virus. It is more common in young, sexually active people, with the peak prevalence in women usually occurring between the ages of 16 and 25. Visit our other pages for more information on HPV and its transmission.
Girls who are offered the HPV vaccine have an opportunity to protect themselves from two high-risk types of HPV that cause at least 70% of all cervical cancers.