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Quiz: Myths and Facts About Genital HPV

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HPV is a rare, sexually transmitted disease.

HPV is a rare, sexually transmitted disease.

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The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. About 20 million Americans are infected with HPV, and approximately 6 million become infected each year. There are more than 100 types of HPV. More than 40 of them can be passed on through sexual contact.

 

Some types of HPV, primarily HPV 16 and HPV 18, can cause cervical cancer, while other types can cause genital warts or warts on other parts of the body, such as the hands. HPV can also lead to cancers of the penis, rectum, and throat.

How long after having sex with someone who is infected could you have HPV?

How long after having sex with someone who is infected could you have HPV?

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It doesn't matter how long it's been since you had sex with someone who has HPV. You can have HPV even if years have passed since you were last intimate with an infected person.

 

 

At least half of all sexually active men and women have the virus at some time in their lives.

You'll know you have HPV if you have:

You'll know you have HPV if you have:

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Most people never know they have HPV. You may have one of the types that cause warts if you see small, fleshy, cauliflower-like bumps around your genitals. Rarely, women with cervical warts can have vaginal discharge.  

 

Genital warts can be confused with other skin problems that are not sexually transmitted. Genital warts do not increase the risk of cervical cancer because they are caused by different types of HPV. Pap tests and HPV testing can help determine whether you have HPV and are at risk for cervical cancer.

You can only get HPV through vaginal sex.

You can only get HPV through vaginal sex.

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HPV is spread through any kind of genital contact. That means vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, or genital-on-genital touching. HPV also can be spread through opposite-sex or same-sex partners.

 

In rare cases, a pregnant woman with HPV can spread the virus to her newborn during delivery. It can cause warts in the newborn's throat called recurrent respiratory papillomatosis or RRP.

How can you protect yourself against HPV?

How can you protect yourself against HPV?

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Latex condoms may lower your chances of getting or spreading HPV if you use them correctly during every sex act from beginning to end. You also can protect yourself by limiting the number of sex partners you have. And the HPV vaccine can help prevent some types of HPV that lead to cervical cancer and genital warts. The vaccine is recommended for males and females between the ages of 9 and 26.

 

But HPV can infect areas that aren't covered by a condom. If you or your partner has genital warts, you should not have sex until they're treated. Skin-on-skin contact is how the virus is spread.

What type of cancer can be caused by HPV?

What type of cancer can be caused by HPV?

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Cervical cancer is the most common cancer caused by an HPV virus. If you're a woman, it's important to have regular Pap tests to detect abnormal cells in your cervix. The HPV vaccine, if given correctly, can prevent some types of HPV that lead to cervical, anal, vulvar, and vaginal cancers. It is not, however, safe for pregnant women.

 

Other types of HPV virus can lead to less common cancers, including oral cancer and cancer of the penis or rectum.

About what percent of all cervical cancer cases in the U.S. are caused by HPV?

About what percent of all cervical cancer cases in the U.S. are caused by HPV?

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Each year, about 12,000 women in the U.S. get cervical cancer. Nearly all of those cases are associated with HPV. Beyond cervical cancer, HPV also causes 7,000 cases of cancer each year in men. HPV is also the most common cause of genital warts. About 1 in 100 sexually active adults has genital warts at any one time.

Genital warts are an early sign of cancer.

Genital warts are an early sign of cancer.

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Genital warts are not cancerous. The types of HPV that cause genital warts don’t cause warts on other parts of the body -- or cancer. On women, genital warts can show up in and around the vagina and anus, on the cervix, and around the vulva. On men, genital warts can show up on the penis, scrotum, and anus. They can be raised or flat, large or small, and can be alone or in clusters.

 

If you have genital warts, you can have them removed or leave them untreated.

If you have HPV but no symptoms, you can't spread the virus.

If you have HPV but no symptoms, you can't spread the virus.

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You can spread HPV even if you have no symptoms. Most people don’t have symptoms of the infection and can pass it to someone else.

You can get HPV if you only have one sexual partner.

You can get HPV if you only have one sexual partner.

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You definitely can lower your chances of getting HPV by staying in a monogamous sexual relationship. But people who've had only one sex partner in their entire lifetime still can have HPV. The only guaranteed way to avoid HPV is to avoid all types of sexual activity.

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