Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can men have HPV and never know it?"
I'm a 22 year old college student and I'm hearing more and more around campus about HPV and the vaccine. Do guys have HPV without even knowing it? Could I get HPV from a guy if he doesn't even have any symptoms?
HPV is transmitted sexually often from unprotected sexual intercourse. The vast majority of time the virus is transmitted between people that have no symptoms. Often men that have it have no symptoms an women have no symptoms when they pass it to a man. In both men and women, HPV can cause genital warts which are often seen near the genitalia. This is almost the only symptom that men will have. Women can get genital warts too but otherwise are often without symptoms. The major problem that HPV causes in women is that it increases the risk of developing cervical cancer. This is the reason that you need to have your regular pap smears done to catch HPV and cervical cancer before it becomes too late. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your OBGYN (or primary care doctor). The two of you can map out exactly when you need your next pap smear and determine how often you need to have one. You can discuss ways to protect yourself from getting a sexually transmitted infection and symptoms you should look out for to make sure that you can recognize it if you get one. Finally, you should discuss getting the HPV vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer. Good luck.
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