HPV is the most common STI. HPV is a different virus than HIV and HSV (herpes). 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV. There are many different types of HPV. Most HPV infections are self-limited and are asymptomatic or go unrecognized.
High-risk HPV strains can cause cancer and precancerous changes of the:
- Cervix (mouth of the uterus)
- Oropharyngeal ( in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils)
Low-risk HPV strains can cause genital warts and a lung disease called recurrent respiratory papillomatosis.
Vaccines exist that can prevent these health problems from developing, as long as the vaccination series is completed prior to becoming infected with HPV.