Human Papillomavirus

Commonly known as HPV

What is Human Papillomavirus?

Human Papillomavirus or popularly known as HPV is one of the most commonly spread sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Since it is so common, this means that all sexually active men and women have a high risk at getting infected with HPV during their lifetime. If infected with HPV, the individual may be at risk for getting cervical cancer or genital warts. Because HPV is very common, it would be advised to get the HPV vaccine to lower the risk of getting infected by the virus. HPV strain that causes genital warts are not the same viruses that cause cervical cancer. There are 100 different types of HPV.
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In the chart above taken from the CDC HPV disease surveillance records, this shows how the prevalence of HPV has gone down since 2003. This is due to the increased usage of the HPV vaccine and how it has become widely recommended that children get their vaccine before they become sexually active.

Why should I get vaccinated?

For most cases, HPV goes away on its on. But at times that is not the case. If HPV does not go away on its own, the individual will be more at risk for developing cervical cancer. If you vaccinated, you are at less risk of getting infected. HPV is very common and is spread though sexual contact with another person (CDC, 2016). The HPV vaccine has been studied and has shown no safety concerns (CDC, 2016). The best time to get vaccinated is around the ages of 11 or 12. The reason for this is so the individual is already getting protected from the virus even before they become exposed to HPV though sexual encounters. Unlike other vaccines that may have a live virus in their vaccine, the HPV vaccine does not have a live virus in it. Making it very unlikely to get the infection from getting the vaccine (Planned Parenthood, 2014).

"The vaccines are not approved for women over 26 or recommended for pregnant women. Boys and young men ages 13 through 21 may be vaccinated if they have not received the 3-dose series. The vaccine is also recommended for males 22 through 26 years of age whose immune systems are weakened, who have sex with men, or who test positive for HIV". - (ARHP, n.d).

Cost for Vaccine Series

The HPV Vaccine comes in a 3 shot series and each shot ranges from $130-150. Until the age of 18, the HPV vaccination is included and insurance companies will pay for all of the shots.
Should You Get The HPV Vaccine?

Who is at risk?

Anybody who is sexually active are at risk for getting infected with HPV. HPV is extremely common around the world. About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV (CDC, 2016). CDC states that HPV is so common that most sexually-active men and women are more than likely to get infected at some point in their lives.

Treatment and Prevention

While there is no actual treatment for HPV, there are treatments for if you develop cervical cancer or genital warts.

If you are already infected with HPV, getting a vaccine with not treat your current infection of HPV. The vaccine will protect you from the next time you encounter the virus.

Your best prevention method is to get vaccinated when you are young and haven't been sexually active. Another method is to wear condoms while being sexually active. Having only one partner can also lower your risk in getting infected with HPV.

Modes of Transmission

HPV is primarily transmitted though intimate skin-to-skin contact (CDC, 2015). Since HPV is very common, getting infected with HPV is more than likely to happen, especially if you decide not to use protection during vaginal or anal sex. Penetrative sex is not required for transmission (WHO, 2016). It is also very possible to spread the HPV infection even when symptoms are not shown.

HPV can also be transmitted from mother to baby during childbirth (MedicineNet, n.d).

Signs/Symptoms of HPV

Although symptoms may not be present, an individual can still be infected with the Human Papillomavirus.

Genital warts are the primary indication that someone has been infected with HPV. They can be raised, flat, pink, or flesh-colored. They can even be shaped like cauliflower. Sometimes there is a single wart; other times multiple warts appear. They can be small or large. They can be on the anus, cervix, scrotum, groin, thigh, or penis (HPV/Genital Warts Health Center, 2004).

Often, individuals' warts will go away on its own, but the longer the virus is in your body the higher the risk is of getting more dangerous diseases.

Public Health Concern

Getting the community educated about the HPV infection is very important because of how common it is in all communities. While HPV may not seem dangerous since it is so common, HPV has many dangerous diseases associated with it. If you are able to prevent or lower your risk of getting a disease, you should take that precaution and go get the vaccination.

HPV vaccination is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (CDC, 2016).

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HPV Facts

If interested in learning more fast facts about Human Papillomavirus, feel free to visit the website listed below to learn more information.

Benton County Health Department

If you or someone you know, are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please do not wait in getting tested. If you are in the Corvallis Area, please do not hesitate to call and set up a STD screening at the Health Department.

Mailing Address

Benton County Health Department

PO Box 579

Corvallis, OR 97339

Office Hours

Monday & Wednesday

8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Thursday & Friday

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. (n.d). Health Matters Fact Sheet. Retrieved on July 10, 2016 from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Retrieved on July 10, 2016 from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). 2014 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance. Retrieved on July 10, 2016 from

Cheney, K; Nall, R. (2016) Genital Warts. Retrieved on July 10, 2016 from

HPV/Genital Warts Health Center. (2004). HPV Symptoms and Tests. Retrieved on July 10, 2016 from

MedicineNet. (n.d). Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Retrieved on July 10, 2016 from

Planned Parenthood. (2014). HPV Vaccine. Retrieved on July 10, 2016 from