Human Papillomavirus Infection or HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It’s so common that nearly all sexually active people will get it at some point in their lives! There are more than 150 strains of HPV in existence but at least 40 of them are sexually transmitted. Most people who contract some strain of HPV will not present any symptoms at all. Their immune system will help them clear the infection without ever having a problem.
HPV can be confusing… and protecting yourself from it is easier said than done.
There are two main categories used to distinguish the various HPV strains:
- High-Risk HPV also known as oncogenic HPV include the strains HPV 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 45, 52, 58 and 59 that have been linked to anal, cervical, and throat cancer. Not everyone who contracts or is exposed to any of these strains will develop cancer.
- Low-Risk HPV also known as non-oncogenic HPV include the strains HPV 6 and 11. These strains are associated with genital warts and other benign conditions. Contracting these strains of HPV are rarely linked to any type of cancer.
As an STI, you can get HPV through vaginal, oral or anal sex. You can also be exposed to the virus from skin-to-skin contact of the genital area. There are currently two vaccines on the market that protect you of the most common and widely understood strains. Clinical researchers continue to search for ways to prevent and treat HPV and other STIs. You can help by volunteering for a study at Women’s Health Care Research. Qualified participants often see board-certified physicians and other medical staff, receive medical evaluations and study-related care at no cost. Additionally, study participants are often compensated for their time to participate. To learn more about potential study opportunities, click below to see currently enrolling studies. You can be an important part of advancing medicine!
For more general information about HPV, I suggest the following links: