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Does everyone have HPV?

Thank you for posting this important question. HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that more than 70% of sexually active Canadians will have contracted HPV infection during their lifetime. While it is true majority of sexually active people may contract it, it is also true that not everyone may have it.

HPV infection is passed on through skin to skin contact of the genital area, which means anyone who is sexually active and those who experience sexual violence, can get HPV.

There are over 200 types of HPV and some of these are primarily transmitted through unprotected sex. 90% of HPV infections will not have any symptom and may go away without treatment. Some types of HPV cause genital warts, which can be easily treated. However, in rare cases it could persist and can cause cervical cancers in women and penile and anal cancers in others.

By having regular pap tests high-risk HPV infection and other abnormalities caused by the infection can be identified and treated if needed. Condoms and sex dams can be barriers against acquiring or transmitting HPV. Vaccination against HPV is another option. Talking to your doctor can help.