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Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that spreads easily from person to person through skin-to-skin or sexual contact. There are many types of HPV. It often does not cause symptoms. However, depending upon the type, it may sometimes cause warts in the genitals (genital or mucosal HPV), or on the hands or feet (cutaneous or nonmucosal HPV). It is possible to be infected for a long time and pass HPV to others without knowing it.
In most cases of HPV, a person will recover from the virus without treatment within 2 years of being infected. However, in some cases, HPV infection can last longer and lead to serious health problems. Certain types of genital or mucosal HPV are considered high-risk and may cause cancers, including cancer of the lower part of the uterus (cervix), vagina, outer female genital area (vulva), penis, anus, and rectum as well as cancers of the oral cavity, such as the throat, tongue, and tonsils.
HPV is caused by a virus that spreads from person to person through contact. This includes genital HPV, which spreads through oral, vaginal, or anal sex.
If you have wart-like lumps in the anal area or throat, warts along the soles of your feet or palms of your hand, or if genital warts are present, your health care provider can usually diagnose HPV with a physical exam. Genital warts are easily seen.
Currently, there is no test to detect genital HPV in males.
Your health care provider will monitor you closely after you are treated. HPV can come back and you may need treatment again.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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