Information About the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
What Happens During HPV Infection
Often, there are no symptoms of an HPV infection and the body clears the infection on its own over the course of a few years. Some people never know they were infected. In fact, research has found that about 90% of women infected with HPV show no traces of the virus within two years.
When an HPV infection with high-risk types persists, it can cause abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix which could lead to cancer. Rarely, it may also cause abnormal changes in penile and anal cells.
Reducing the Risk of Getting HPV
The only way to absolutely avoid the risk of HPV infection is to abstain from sex. You can also limit the number of sexual partners you have. And you can choose partners who've had few or no sexual partners before you. However, while a long-term monogamous relationship lowers your risk, it's important to remember that many people are infected and never know it.