HPV Causes

HPV INFO

Are you human

Over 75% of Canadians will have one form or another of this virus in their lifetime. People come into contact with this virus through any skin-to-skin sexual contact below the waistline with fingers, mouths or other body parts – even without penetration. Condoms offer good protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unwanted pregnancies and HPV in general BUT do not fully protect people from transmitting this virus because there is still direct skin-to-skin contact.

HPV QUICK FACTS
  1. HPV stands for Human papillomavirus.
  2. It is a common virus with over 100 different types; more than 40 of which are sexually transmitted.
  3. It causes 99.4% of cervical cancer cases and 100% of genital warts cases.
  4. 80% of sexually active people will contract genital HPV in their lifetime and there are usually no signs or symptoms.
  5. It is a virus contracted through skin-to-skin contact, is very infectious, and is spread via sexual activity.
  6. The definition of sexual activity: The minute you go below the belt.
  7. Condoms reduce the spread of HPV but because they do not fully cover all the skin around the genitals, they do not fully protect you.
  8. It only takes one infected sexual partner in an entire lifetime to contract this virus.
  9. There are two vaccines available on the market, Gardasil (targeted at preventing the two most common types of HPV associated with genital and anal cancers [HPV 16 and 18], and those associated with genital and anal warts [HPV 6 and 11]) and Cervarix (targeted at preventing the two main HPVs that cause cervical cancer [HPV 16 and 18])
  1. From the age of 21, with or without an HPV test, a woman should get a Pap test. It is the only way to see abnormalities that can lead to cervical cancer later in life.
  2. Statistics Canada estimates that every year 1,502 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and 581 will die from it, while another 220 will die from cancer of the vulva or vagina.
  3. Your first sexual experience puts you at risk of infection.
  4. You are still at risk of contracting HPV even if you do not have penetrative sex as the virus is transmitted through genital skin to skin contact.
  5. Infection with HPV does NOT imply either infidelity or promiscuity.
  6. If you get high risk HPV you will not require treatment nor will your partner. However if your cervical screening test detects abnormal cells and high risk HPV you may be sent for further examination.
  7. A strong immune system can help your body to clear HPV infection.
  8. Smoking can make it harder for the body to clear HPV.
  1. It can take 12 to 18 months to clear a high risk HPV infection.
  2. HPV stands for the Human papillomavirus
  3. HPV is highly contagious because it is transmitted through skin to skin contact below the waistline.
  4. The use of a condom during sexual relationships do not offer complete protection from HPV, as the condom does not cover the entire genital area. [2]
  5. An often neglected and crucial fact that is all too often poorly understood is that HPV affects men as well as women, so boys and men should be included in education and any endeavors around HPV. [2]
  6. An often neglected and crucial fact that is all too often poorly understood is that HPV affects men as well as women, so boys and men should be included in education and any endeavors around HPV. [2]
  7. The highest rates of HPV infection are found in youths under the age of 25. [3]
  8. Types 6 and 11 of HPV causes genital warts, and HPV types 16 and 18 can cause several cancers, and almost 100% of cervical cancers. There are vaccines currently available to protect against both. [2]
  1. 40% to 80% of some anogenital cancers (anus, vulva, vagina and penis), as well as 47% to 70% of oropharyngeal cancers (head, neck, throat and tongue) are caused by HPV. These cancers of the mouth and airways are most likely linked to people performing oral sex, not protecting their mouths and because they lay dormant for many years it surfaces later as a cancer. [2]
  2. HPV can stay dormant in both men and women for up to 30 years, making people of all ages affected by HPV, because of how long the virus can stay asleep in a person’s body. [4]
  3. The prevalence of anal cancer, which is believed to be caused by HPV, has doubled in the past 25 years. [3]
  4. 80% of sexually active people will contract HPV in their lifetime. [1]
  5. HPV can be prevented and detected before turning into a full-blown cervical cancer. [4]
  6. Families around the country are affected by HPV, with 3000 Canadians diagnosed with an HPV related cancer yearly. [5]

The letters H P V stand for the Human PapillomaVirus. This virus has over 180 different strains that are numbered, HPV 1, HPV 2, and so on. A person comes into contact with this virus through any skin-to-skin sexual contact below the waistline with fingers, mouth or other body parts – even without penetration. Condoms do not fully protect people from giving/getting this virus because the condom only covers the length of the penis; there are still other parts below the waist that will have direct skin-to-skin contact.

This certainly includes inserting a penis or an object into a vagina or anus, as well as rubbing skin-to-skin against each other below the waistline without any penetration. This type of touching puts people in direct contact with this virus due to the skin-to-skin touching and exchange of bodily fluids (pre-cum and semen that comes from a penis each time a male ejaculates and vaginal discharge from a female). Unfortunately, there typically are no signs or symptoms of this virus for either partner, regardless of sex or gender.

A person can contract HPV simply through sexual contact between the genitals and the fingers, mouth or other body parts… even without penetration.

This virus could appear as genital warts or lead to certain cancers. Genital warts can be found anywhere from the waist down to the knees, at the front and back of a person’s body. Genital warts are small, raised, hard lumps that grow in clumps. They are usually painless but may cause itching, burning, or light bleeding. This virus can manifest itself as genital warts and spread below the waistline through any skin-to-skin sexual contact.1

There are also some strains of this virus that can lead to cancers of the head, neck, throat, tongue, cervix, vagina, anus, and penis. It can be asleep in a person’s body for up to 30 years. This means what we do in our teens, 20s, 30s, or 40s can affect us in our 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s simply because it can take up to 30 years before developing symptoms. It is clear that HPV is highly contagious. The good news is that there are preventative methods. I strongly recommend that you and any partner be protected from this virus with the HPV vaccine. Your health care provider can give you more information about a vaccine called Gardasil 9. It is given in 3 doses over a 6-month period.

Females thirty years old and over can find out for certain if they have a high-risk strain of this virus by getting an HPV test. It is performed like a pap smear, there is approximately $100 fee for the HPV test and you get the results typically within two weeks. You must request the HPV test from your health care provider as this is not a routine test. There are many strains of the virus, and as said earlier here some strains of this virus lead to cancers such as cervical cancer. I would recommend all females over thirty years old and over get an HPV test instead of a pap smear because it is more accurate.

There is no test that exists to know if a male has HPV. The only way a male can know if he has this virus is when treating the symptoms of this virus that may come out as genital warts or an HPV-related cancer such as head, neck, throat, tongue, anal or penile cancer. We can assume that if one person in the relationship has HPV, probably the other person has it too because of how easy it is to come into contact with.

There is no treatment for an HPV infection as usually the body’s own immune system will clear the infection. However a persistent HPV infection with a high-risk type may lead to cervical abnormalities and increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. The results of an HPV test combined with cervical screening cytology (examination of the cells under a microscope) enable faster investigation of those at higher risk of developing cervical cancer, and reassurance of those at very low risk. The test can also reduce the number of unnecessary screening appointments and colposcopies among women with borderline or mild cervical screening cytology results or who have been treated for abnormal cells. If you are interested in getting an HPV test, ask your doctor about getting one with your next Pap test.

The HPV test is carried out using the same sample of cells taken during a cervical screening test. In the laboratory the cells are analysed for current HPV infection.

For more details on HPV facts, please view HPV FACTS.

You can also order an at home HPV test through Eve kit: https://evekit.com/shop/

  1. Koutsky L. 1997. Epidemiology of genital human papillomavirus infection. The American Journal of Medicine, 102 (5A), 3-8.[]