Most people will have human papillomavirus (HPV) at some stage in their life.
People with HPV usually:
- do not have symptoms
- do not know they have it
- have no problems or complications.
Most HPV infections becomes undetectable within 2 years.
There are over 200 types of HPV — most are low-risk and only 14 types are high-risk.
- Low-risk types of HPV can cause genital warts or mild changes to cervical cells.
- High-risk types of HPV can cause changes in cells that over time may turn into cancer if left untreated.
Some types of HPV can cause growths or lumps around the anus or genitals — vagina, penis, or testicles. These are called genital warts.
Irregular cells or cancer
Some types of HPV can cause changes to the cells of the cervix. These are different types of HPV than those that cause warts. Cell changes themselves do not usually cause symptoms.
Cell changes sometimes progress to cancer if they are not found or treated. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer caused by HPV.
Regular cervical screening can help catch irregular cells early. These cells are usually treated successfully to prevent cancer.
Find more information on cervical cancer, the symptoms, diagnosis, where to screen and treatment.
Cervical screening — Time to Screen (external link)
HPV can also cause vulval, vaginal, penile, anal or head and neck cancer.