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How is HPV transmitted?

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Quick Answer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV, also referred to as the human papillomavirus, is spread through sexual intercourse or oral sex with an infected individual. The most common routes of transmission are anal and vaginal intercourse. HPV symptoms can develop years after infection, so it is not always easy for individuals to determine if they are infected.

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Mayo Clinic explains that in many cases, the body clears itself of HPV before creating symptoms. However, certain women may develop warts on the vulva, anal area or inside the cervix. In men, HPV warts commonly appear on the penis or scrotum. Genital warts typically do not cause pain but may cause itching. HPV infections can also put certain women at risk for developing cervical cancer. Abnormal Pap tests can detect cervical changes that may indicate HPV infection; it is important for women between the ages of 21 and 29 to schedule cervical examinations every three years.

WebMD explains there is no current cure for HPV, but abnormal tissues can be removed through a variety of procedures when the infections do not resolve on their own. Treatment procedures for HPV include cone biopsies in which the affected tissues are surgically removed, cryotherapy procedures in which the abnormal tissues are frozen and surgical procedures that utilize electric currents to remove the abnormal cervical cells.

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