School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Genital HPV Infection

Genital HPV infection is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can infect the genital area of women and men. It is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are different types of HPV, but strains that cause genital infection are generally spread during genital contact.

A sign of HPV is visible genital warts. Most people who become infected with HPV may not have any symptoms, but they can still pass HPV during sex. Usually, HPV infection causes an abnormal Pap test for women. The Pap test should be done yearly to keep track of any precancerous cells on a woman's cervix. In rare cases, some types of HPV can cause cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, or penis.

As far as testing and treatment go, your doctor can see if you have genital warts just by looking at your genital area. Then either you or your doctor can apply medicine to remove genital warts. There is no cure for HPV, but in most women, the infection goes away on its own.

Ways To Prevent HPV

  • Abstain from sex
  • Choose one partner that you know is not infected for a mutually, monogamous relationship.