Although it may not have the fame of herpes or the clap, HPV is actually the most common sexually transmitted disease. Fifty percent of all men will have it at some point in their lives.
In most cases, HPV causes no symptoms and doesn’t lead to any health problems. But some strains do cause genital warts. The only way to prevent transmission of the virus is to avoid skin contact -- not easy in a marriage. Condoms may help reduce transmission, but that’s not really clear. The virus has no cure.
It is important to note that there are many different strains of HPV. Women are typically tested for the ones considered to be “high risk HPV”, meaning high risk for cervical cancer. These are not the same strains that cause genital warts. So her positive test was not testing for the strains that cause warts. However, a person exposed to one strain may be more likely to also have some of the others.
If you do get genital warts, they’re most likely to appear on your penis. They can also show up elsewhere, including your anus. While they may fade on their own, they can also be treated with creams or surgery. HPV does raise the risk of getting cancers of the anus and penis; however, those risks are still extremely low.