Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is a common virus that can lead to certain types of cancer later in life in both men and women. HPV vaccination is very safe and effective in protecting against HPV and the cancers it causes.

HPV infections are common

HPV infections are very common. Nearly everyone will get HPV at some point in their lives.

  • More than 42 million Americans are currently infected with HPV types that cause disease.
  • About 13 million Americans, including teens, become infected each year.

HPV is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact. You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus, even if they don’t have signs or symptoms.

Some HPV infections can lead to cancer

Most HPV infections (9 out of 10) go away by themselves within 2 years. But sometimes, HPV infections will last longer and can cause some cancers. HPV infections can cause cancers of the:

  • Cervix, vagina, and vulva in women
  • Penis in men
  • Anus in both women and men
  • Back of the throat (called oropharyngeal cancer), including the base of the tongue and tonsils, in both men and women

Every year in the United States, HPV causes about 36,000 cases of cancer in men and women .


For more information about HPV, visit the CDC website.