Questions & Answers
Human Papillomavirus - The Disease
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Rate and Spread

  1. How common is Human Papillomavirus in the United States?
    It is estimated that 50% of all sexually active people will be infected with HPV at some point in their lifetime. According to the American Social Health Association, approximately 5.5 million new cases of sexually transmitted HPV infections are reported every year. At least 20 million people in this country are already infected. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2006, 9,700 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 3,700 will die from this disease in the U.S. alone.

  2. How is Human Papillomavirus spread from one person to another?
    HPV is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal, or (rarely) oral sex with someone who is infected.

  3. How long does it take to show signs of Human Papillomavirus after being exposed?
    The average time from exposure to lesion expression is approximately three months but varies greatly from a few weeks to years or decades.

  4. How long does an outbreak of Human Papillomavirus last?
    Genital warts may go away on their own or with treatment, or they may last for years. It is common for genital warts to return after they are removed.

  5. How long is a person with Human Papillomavirus contagious?
    The types of HPV that infect the genital area are spread primarily through sexual contact. Genital warts are very contagious and are spread during oral, genital, or anal sex with an infected partner. Even though the warts can be removed, the skin surrounding the area from which the wart came usually remains infected with HPV and may be contagious.

  6. Can you get Human Papillomavirus more than once?
    Yes. An individual can clear an HPV infection and then have a recurrence. Depending upon the treatment used, different recurrence rates have been noted. It is also possible to be reinfected with the same or different strain of HPV from contact with an infected partner.