• DSHS HIV/STD Program

    Post Office Box 149347, MC 1873
    Austin, Texas 78714

    Phone: (512) 533-3000

    E-mail the HIV/STD Program

    E-mail data requests to HIV/STD Program - This email can be used to request data and statistics on HIV, TB, and STDs in Texas. It cannot be used to get treatment or infection history for individuals, or to request information on programs and services. Please do not include any personal, identifying health information in your email such as HIV status, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, etc.

    For treatment/testing history, please contact your local Health Department.

    For information on HIV testing and services available to Persons Living with HIV and AIDS, please contact your local HIV services organization.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

What You Should Know About HPV logoWhat is HPV?


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the U.S. Most sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives. There are more than 150 types of HPV.

In most cases, HPV goes away on its own without causing health problems. However, certain types of HPV can cause cervical, anal, vaginal, vulvar, penile, and throat cancers. Other types of genital HPV can cause genital warts – growths around the vagina, penis or anus.

 

How do people get HPV?

HPV is easily spread by skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity with another person. It is difficult to know when you got HPV or who gave it to you because you can have it for a long time without knowing it.

Sexually active younger women are at greater risk for HPV because their cervical cells are not fully mature and therefore more prone to infection.

 

What are the symptoms of HPV?

Most people with HPV have no symptoms. The most commonly noticed symptom of HPV infection is genital warts. An abnormal Pap test result may be the first clue that a woman has the virus.

 

Can HPV be treated?

There is no cure for HPV. However, the body’s immune system clears most HPV infections within a couple of years. Treatment is also available for genital warts caused by HPV and the different types of cancers caused by HPV. The treatment does not cure the virus.

 

Can screening help prevent cervical cancer?

Women should get regular cervical cancer screenings starting at age 21 and continuing through age 65. Ask your provider how often you need to be screened.

HPV vaccines do not protect against all types of HPV that cause cervical cancer, so vaccinated women should keep getting regular screenings.

 

Is there a vaccine against HPV?

Yes, vaccines can protect against some of the most common types of HPV that can lead to cancer or genital warts. The vaccines are most effective if given to both boys and girls around ages 11-12. Talk with your doctor about the HPV vaccine.

 

What do genital warts look like?

Genital warts appear as flesh-colored growths around the vagina, penis or anus. They may appear alone or in groups or clusters. Genital warts are usually painless, but they can cause itching or burning.

Genital warts may appear within several weeks after sexual contact, or may take months - even years - to appear. Some genital warts may grow in size and number and may look like cauliflower.

 

How are genital warts treated?

A doctor or health care provider can treat genital warts. Different treatment options are available to remove the warts. However, these treatments are just to remove the warts. They do not cure you of HPV and the warts sometimes grow back.

Do not use any over-the-counter wart treatments or home remedies to treat genital warts. These can cause pain and harm your skin.

 

What about HPV and pregnancy?

Most pregnant women with HPV do not have problems. However, active genital warts may cause problems during pregnancy or at birth. In rare cases, HPV can also be passed to a baby during childbirth. A pregnant woman should tell her doctor or health care provider if she or her sex partner(s) have ever had genital warts. Pregnant women should not get the HPV vaccine.

 

How can HPV be prevented?

  • Get vaccinated. Ask your health care provider and your children’s health care provider about the HPV vaccine.

  • If you have sex, use latex condoms every time. HPV can infect areas not covered by a condom. While condoms do not provide 100% protection, they are the best available form of protection for people who are sexually active.

  • If you have sex, stay with one partner who only has sex with you. Use condoms unless tests show that your partner does not have STDs.


How can I stay healthy?

  • Sexually active women and women over 21, should have a Pap test as often as recommended by their health care provider.   

  • If you think you have genital warts, see your doctor or go to your local STD clinic. To find the clinic closest to you in Texas, visit knowmystatus.org or call 2-1-1.

  • If you get genital warts, inform your partners and use condoms. Tell your sex partner(s) to be checked for genital warts and other STDs. Having warts does not mean that you or your partner are having other partners.


 

HPV Resources

Where to get tested for STDs

HPV information [CDC]

HPV vaccine information [CDC]

Texas Cervical Cancer Strategic Plan (PDF)
Following the blueprint of the Texas Cancer Plan and the Action Plan on Breast and Cervical Cancers, the Cervical Cancer Strategic Plan provides a framework for guiding statewide activities and unifying efforts to reduce the impact of cervical cancer in Texas.

2015 STD Treatment Guidelines [CDC]
Includes treatment recommendations for HPV.

HPV Slide Presentation (PowerPoint : 1,960 kb)
From the HIV/STD Program.

National Cervical Cancer Coalition [NCCC]
To help women, family members and caregivers battle the personal issues related to cervical cancer and HPV and to advocate for cervical health in all women by promoting prevention through education about early vaccination, Pap testing and HPV testing when recommended.

The HPV Test [Qiagen]
Information about HPV testing and the link to cervical cancer.

HPV Resources
     

4-190
What you should know about HPV
(PDF : 1,667 kb)
(DSHS Brochure 4-190)

4-190a
Lo Que Usted Debe Saber Sobre el VPH
(PDF : 1,100 kb)
(DSHS Brochure 4-190a)

E13-11903
What you should know about HPV
(PDF : 180 kb)
(DSHS Fact Sheet E13-11903)

E13-11903a
Lo que debe saber sobre el VPH
(PDF : 41 kb)
(DSHS Fact Sheet E13-11903a)

HPV Materials
HPV

Last updated September 11, 2017