How Is It Treated?There is no cure for HPV (see HPV Cure), which means that the body's own immune system must get rid of the virus (which it does in a lot of cases). It also means that treatment is focused on treating the signs and symptoms. These treatments will not affect whether your body is able to get rid of the virus or how long it takes.
(Click HPV Treatment to learn about the different treatment options for genital warts, cervical changes, and other warts.)
Can HPV Be Prevented?The best way to protect yourself is to not have sex or to only have sex with one uninfected partner who also only has sex with you (i.e., a mutually monogamous relationship).
HPV can infect male and female genital areas that are covered by a condom, as well as areas not covered by the condom. Using condoms may reduce the risk of getting genital warts and cancer, but they may not completely protect you from the actual virus.
HPV can be prevented with a vaccine. There are currently two different HPV vaccines. Gardasil® (Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus [Types 6, 11, 16, and 18] Recombinant Vaccine) was the first HPV vaccine approved in the United States. It is approved to prevent cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer, genital warts, and various precancerous genital lesions caused by certain types of human papillomavirus in girls and women ages 9 through 26.
Gardasil is also approved to prevent genital warts in boys and men in the same age group. Recently, Gardasil was also approved to prevent anal cancer and precancerous anal lesions in males and females age 9 to 26 years.
The second HPV vaccine approved for use in the United States was Cervarix® (Human Papillomavirus Bivalent [Types 16 and 18] Vaccine, Recombinant). Cervarix is approved for preventing cervical cancer and precancerous cervical lesions in girls and women age 9 through 25 years of age.