Human Papillomavirus is a virus responsible for genital warts and cervical cancer. Most sexually active adults will be exposed to HPV in their lifetime. Most HPV infections do no cause harm. Genital warts are the most common symptom of HPV.
Warts can be:
- found on penis, scrotum, anus and thighs of males
- found on the labia, vagina, cervix, anus and thighs of females
- in the throat of both males and females
- may or may not be painful
- may be in clusters or as a single wart
- do not cause cancer
Some of the HPV viruses can cause cancer. There is a vaccine available for both males and females. A pap smear can detect cervical HPV infections in women. Women age 21 and older who are sexually active should have a pap smear every three years for screening. There are no recommendations at this time for screening males for HPV.