HPV is a widespread STD in the United States, and you’ve probably heard about it and even gotten the HPV vaccine. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear. So, it’s a good idea to understand what the HPV virus is and what the symptoms are. That way, you can treat this super common virus.

What is the HPV virus?

One of the reasons why it’s so important to be aware of HPV is because it’s very prevalent in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 80 million Americans have HPV.

HPV, or human papillomavirus, is a sexually transmitted disease that gets spread through any type of sex. It can spread whether or not the infected partner shows any HPV signs or symptoms. 

The CDC states that “In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems.” But if it does stick around, it can lead to genital warts and even cancer. 

What are the symptoms of HPV?

According to OB-GYN, Kari Braaten, M.D., “There are many strains of HPV that affect the genital organs. We divide them into high-risk and low-risk strains.” 

For low-risk HPV, genital warts can develop. They are fleshy and don’t cause pain, and they are usually quite small – approximately one to two millimeters. But in some cases, wart clusters can develop. 

For high-risk HPV, cervical cancer can develop. But this can take years and even decades to develop. 

If you haven’t gotten the HPV vaccine, it’s a good idea to visit your OB-GYN to get a screening to stay safe and healthy.