FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HPV

It’s only natural for parents to have concerns when it comes to human papillomavirus (HPV) and their children’s health. Perhaps the FAQs below can help answer your questions about the virus.

If you have more questions about HPV and how you can help protect your child against certain HPV-related cancers and diseases, be sure to talk to your child’s doctor or health care professional.

Does HPV cause cancers and diseases?

Does HPV cause cancers and diseases?

Yes, HPV is a virus that can cause certain cancers and diseases. For females, certain types of HPV can cause cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancer and genital warts. For males, certain types of HPV can cause anal cancer and genital warts.

 

How can my child get HPV?

Exposure can happen with any kind of adolescent experimentation that involves genital contact with someone who has HPV. Intercourse isn't necessary, but it’s the most common way to get the virus.

While your child may not be at risk now, the risk for getting HPV increases as they get older. That’s why it’s important to learn how you can help protect your child from HPV sooner rather than later.

 

How can I tell if my child has HPV?

HPV often has no visible signs or symptoms. Anyone can get the virus without even knowing it — and then pass it on.

 

Can my son get HPV?

Yes, males can get HPV, too. In fact, HPV can cause anal cancer and genital warts in males.

For most people, HPV clears on its own. But, for others who don’t clear the virus, it could cause certain cancers and other diseases.

 

How is HPV linked to cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is caused by certain types of HPV. When a female is infected with these types of HPV and the virus doesn't go away on its own, abnormal cells can develop in the cervix. If these abnormal cells are not found early through routine cervical cancer screening and treated, cervical cancer can develop.

The highest rate of genital HPV infection is found in sexually active females who are less than 25 years old.

 

How is HPV linked to genital warts?

Certain types of HPV cause approximately 90% of all genital warts cases in both males and females. Every hour, there are an estimated 40 new cases of genital warts in the United States. Approximately 3 out of 4 people will get genital warts after having any kind of genital contact with someone who has genital warts.

Treatment for genital warts can be painful (for example, freezing or applying medicine to the warts) and, even after treatment, genital warts can come back. In fact, approximately 25% of all cases return within 3 months.

 

Is there a treatment for HPV?

No, there are currently no available medicines that treat HPV infection. However, there are treatments for the HPV-related diseases that may develop.

Talk to your doctor to learn how to help prevent certain cancers and diseases later in life for both males and females.

Talk to your doctor to learn how to help prevent certain cancers and diseases later in life for both males and females.

 

At what age should my child get vaccinated?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine HPV vaccination for boys and girls at age 11 or 12.

While 11 and 12 are the recommended ages for routine vaccination, females who are 13-26 and males who are 13-21 may still be able to catch up and receive HPV vaccination. Talk to your child’s doctor to help determine when the time is right.


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