There are over 100 types of HPV (human papillomavirus), many of which cause warts on different parts of the body. This virus is typically spread through direct skin-to-skin contact. More than 30 types are transmitted sexually; they can lead to genital warts and an increased risk of cancers in some people. However, symptoms do not always occur.
It is estimated that there are more cases of genital HPV infection than any other sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States. According to the American Social Health Association, approximately 5.5 million new cases of sexually transmitted HPV infections are reported each year.
There are currently two vaccines that can help prevent HPV infection. Genital infections can also be prevented by practicing abstinence or only having sex with one uninfected partner who also only has sex with you (i.e., a mutually monogamous relationship).
(Click HPV to get a better understanding of this virus. This article offers information on treatment options, making a diagnosis, and more.)