As a parent, you don't take chances with your child's health.
As a parent,
you don't take chances
with your child's health.

Parents' most frequently asked questions

So what are other parents thinking and asking about HPV?
Here are some common questions.

  • How can I know if my child has been exposed to HPV?
    • Since HPV often has no signs or symptoms, it can be very difficult to know if your child has been exposed to HPV. Pap tests play a key role as females get older. That's why it's important to follow your child's health care professional's recommendation for cervical cancer screenings. While it can't diagnose HPV, a Pap test can look for abnormal cells (that may be caused by certain types of HPV) in the lining of the cervix before the cells become precancerous. There is no HPV screening test recommended for males. Speak with your child's doctor or health care professional about ways to help prevent certain HPV-related diseases and visit regularly for checkups.

  • What is the link between HPV and 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 lining of the cervix. If these abnormal cells are not found early through routine cervical cancer screening and treated, precancers and then cervical cancer can develop. Each day, another 33 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States (about 12,000 women per year). Many of these women could have been exposed to cancer-causing HPV types in their teens and 20s.

  • Could HPV-related diseases affect my son too?
    • Yes. Males can get HPV too. In fact it will infect an estimated 75% to 80% of males and females in their lifetime. For most, HPV clears on its own. But, for others who don't clear certain types, HPV could cause genital warts in both males and females. And there is no way to predict who will or won't clear the virus.

  • What is the link between HPV and genital warts?
    • Two types of HPV cause 90% of all genital warts cases in both males and females. It's estimated that every minute in the United States there is a new case of genital warts. And most new cases occur in people in their teens and 20s.

      Genital warts are highly contagious. In fact, approximately 3 out of 4 people will get genital warts after having any kind of genital contact with someone infected.

      Although genital warts can be treated, treatment doesn't cure the HPV infection that caused them. Treatment for genital warts can also be painful (for example, it may involve cutting or freezing the warts) and, even after treatment, genital warts can come back. In fact, approximately 25% of all cases return within 3 months. Talk to your child's health care professional to learn more.

  • Can HPV be treated?
    • No. There are currently no available medicines that treat HPV infection. For most, the virus usually goes away on its own. But, for others who don't clear certain types, HPV could cause significant consequences: cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in females. Other types could cause genital warts in both males and females. It's important that you learn about HPV and its potential consequences before your son or daughter is exposed to it and talk to your child's health care professional to learn more.

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HPV = human papillomavirus.