HPV is one of the most common STIs. Some types of HPV can cause genital warts. These can happen on the inside or outside areas of the genitals. They may spread to the surrounding skin or to a sexual partner. Many other types of HPV cause no symptoms, so you may not know that you are infected.
In most cases, the virus goes away and doesn't cause more health problems. But if the virus lasts, normal cells can change and become abnormal. Women with an HPV infection with high-risk types such as HPV 16 and 18 have an increased risk of getting cervical cancer. Pap tests can detect HPV infection, as well as abnormal cervical cells. An HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. It also protects against most genital warts in both men and women, and against anal cancer in men.
Even with treatment for genital warts, the virus remains in the body and warts can reappear. Certain types of HPV can also cause warts on other body parts such as the hands. These are called common warts. These don't generally cause health problems. If a pregnant woman has a large number of genital warts, the growths can complicate a vaginal delivery. If the warts block the birth canal, the woman may need a cesarean section.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is HPV?
How common is HPV?
What can happen to me if I get HPV?
How do I know if I have HPV?
Who is most likely to get HPV?
How do you get HPV?
How can I keep from getting HPV?
How can I keep from spreading HPV?
Can HPV be treated? How do I get rid of it?
What can happen if I don't get treatment for HPV?
How do I get tested for HPV?
How often should I get tested for HPV?
Infectious Diseases Treatment at Children's National Hospital
Our Division of Infectious Diseases is the major referral center for infectious diseases in the Washington, D.C., area, helping thousands of young patients each year with contagious conditions. Discover more about the treatments we offer.
Help Kids and Make a Difference
Invest in future cures for some of life's most devastating diseases. Give today to help more children grow up stronger.
Departments that Treat HPV
The Division of Dermatology at Children's National Hospital continues to expand services as more families seek our expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.
Pediatric Gynecology Program
When your child needs specialized gynecologic care, Children's National Hospital has the experience and expertise to provide the most appropriate care for younger patients.