Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of more than 100 viruses that are usually spread through sexual contact. HPV infection is extremely common; there are more than six million new infections in the US each year and more than 50 percent of sexually active men and women will get it in their lifetime. Most new infections are in people in their teens and early twenties. HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer and can also cause cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth, and throat. The virus also causes genital warts. People can pass the virus on even if they have no symptoms and even if years have passed since they were first infected.
Learn more about HPV and the vaccine to prevent it.