HPV Human Papillomavirus Infection Pocket Guide


The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is best known as the etiological agentof cervical cancer in women. Worldwide, cervical cancer is the secondmost common form of cancer in women. However, HPV can causemany more diseases including: genital warts, vulvar cancer, vaginalcancer, head and neck cancers, and anal cancer. The most common formof transmission is sexual contact. Unlike some sexually transmitteddiseases, penetrative sex is not necessary for HPV transmission; the viruscan spread easily through skin-skin contact. In fact, most adults will beexposed to HPV at some point during their life, but only a smallpercentage will develop cancer. Certain populations do have an increasedrisk of contracting an HPV infection: patients with humanimmunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; people with multiple sexualpartners; and people that do not consistently use condoms; however,this link has only been shown in longitudinal studies (HumanPapillomavirus and HPV vaccines: Technical Information for PolicyMakers and Health Professionals 2007).The prevalence of HPV infection varies between men and women andglobally. The vast majority of HPV related studies have beenconducted in women of childbearing age. Globally, approximately 12%of women test HPV positive, but these results hide significant regionalvariation