High-Risk HPV TypesThe sexually transmitted varieties of high-risk HPV include:
A few others may also be included on this list. These high-risk types of HPV cause growths that are usually flat and nearly invisible, as compared to the warts caused by types HPV-6 and HPV-11.
High-risk HPV viruses may cause cell changes that can lead to cervical cancer over time if these changes are left untreated. In fact, persistent high-risk HPV (an infection that does not go away) is the most important risk factor for cervical cancer (see Cervical Cancer Risk Factors).
However, having high-risk HPV is not the same as having cervical cancer. Usually, these high-risk HPV types cause no health problems at all and go away on their own. Furthermore, even if HPV does cause damage, with regular Pap tests, cervical cell changes can be found and treated to prevent cancer from ever developing.
Testing for High-Risk HPVMost cases of HPV are diagnosed following an abnormal Pap test (Pap smear). A Pap test does not directly test for HPV, but does allow healthcare providers to see the effects of an HPV infection.
There is a test that can detect the virus. While this test cannot tell the exact type of HPV, it can tell if you are infected with any of the 13 high-risk HPV types.
(Click HPV Test for more information.)