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What is the human papillomavirus (HPV)?

ANSWER

HPV stands for human papillomavirus. It's a virus that can be transmitted through sexual contact. During intercourse or oral sex, HPV can make its way into the genitals, mouth, or throat and cause infection.

Sexually transmitted HPV comes in more than 40 different varieties. The type of the virus you get determines what effects it has on your body. Certain types of HPV cause genital warts. Other HPV types can make cells turn cancerous.

SOURCES:

CDC: "Genital HPV Infection - Fact Sheet."

CDC: "What is HPV?"

CDC: "HPV Vaccine -- Questions & Answers."

CDC: "HPV Vaccine: What You Need to Know."

Center for Young Women's Health: "HPV Vaccine."

Giuliano, A. , February 2011; vol 364: pp 401-411. The New England Journal of Medicine

News release. FDA.

National Conference of State Legislatures: "HPV Vaccine."

Immunization Action Coalition: “HPV Vaccines: Questions & Answers.”

American Cancer Society: '' What are the key statistics about cervical cancer?''

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on March 30, 2019

SOURCES:

CDC: "Genital HPV Infection - Fact Sheet."

CDC: "What is HPV?"

CDC: "HPV Vaccine -- Questions & Answers."

CDC: "HPV Vaccine: What You Need to Know."

Center for Young Women's Health: "HPV Vaccine."

Giuliano, A. , February 2011; vol 364: pp 401-411. The New England Journal of Medicine

News release. FDA.

National Conference of State Legislatures: "HPV Vaccine."

Immunization Action Coalition: “HPV Vaccines: Questions & Answers.”

American Cancer Society: '' What are the key statistics about cervical cancer?''

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on March 30, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

What are the symptoms of human papillomavirus (HPV)?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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