Human Papilloma Virus (HPV & Genital Warts)
HPV is caused by a virus and is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States. Because HPV is a virus, there is no cure, but most people can get rid of the virus without medication or treatment. This usually happens within two years. There are various types of HPV, but only a few types cause genital warts or more serious health problems like cancer. It is estimated that most sexually active people will be exposed to HPV at some point during their life.
How do I know if I have HPV?
There is no available HPV testing for men. Most of the time, you won't know if you have it. For guys, there are no symptoms unless you have been exposed to a type of HPV that cause genital warts or cancer. Even then, the warts can be in places like your butthole where you can't see anything. The only way a doctor can tell if you have HPV is if you have symptoms like genital warts.
Genital warts can appear weeks or months after exposure. They look like small bumps on your groin, penis, balls or in/around your butthole and are usually painless.
How do I get HPV?
It is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact during oral, anal and vaginal sex, with or without a condom. Rimming or other forms of very close contact can also transmit HPV.
What do I do if I have HPV?
Most of the time, HPV goes away on its own. If you have the type that causes warts, they can be removed by a specialist. However, even if you remove the warts, the virus may stay in your skin and can be spread to others.
How do I protect myself?
There are shots available for guys aged 13-26 that prevent the harmful types of HPV that cause genital warts and cancer. To prevent HPV, you get a series of three shots in your arm over a 6 month period. You can get them at Health Center One for free until you are 21. Just let the person at registration know you are here for the HPV shots. If you are older than 21, contact us and we can find help find another provider. It is recommended that you get vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent exposure to any harmful types of HPV.
Condoms will help reduce the risk of getting or passing on HPV, but HPV can infect the skin not covered by a condom. Since HPV is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, condoms may not fully protect against HPV.