Advertisement

How is the HPV virus contracted?

The HPV virus is spread through direct skin to skin contact with an infected partner. It can be passed during oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Infants may also be infected during delivery as they pass through the cervix and vagina of an infected mother.

HPV can be passed even when a sexual partner has no symptoms. People without symptoms do not realize they are infected are often unaware they are able to pass the virus to someone else.

Condoms may lower the risk of contracting HPV if they are used with every sex act. Having only one sexual partner, limiting the number of lifetime partners, and choosing a partner that does not have multiple partners will also help reduce the risk of HPV.  

Eric M. Genden, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)

Researchers are still evaluating the various ways HPV can be transmitted. There have been reports of HPV transmission through what is referred to as “deep french kissing.” It may also be possible for the virus to be transmitted to an infant through the infected mother’s cervical canal. 

 Dr. Diane Harper
Health Education

It's a medical myth that human papillomavirus (HPV) is spread only through sexual contact. In this video, HPV expert Dr. Diane Harper sets the record straight on the many ways the HPV virus can infect people of all ages.

Continue Learning about HPV

Why Parents and Doctors Aren’t Talking About the HPV Vaccine
Why Parents and Doctors Aren’t Talking About the HPV Vaccine
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most commonly transmitted STD in the U.S., causing cancer in roughly 20,700 women and 14,100 men every year. Luc...
Read More
What are the risk factors for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection?
Riverside Cancer Care CenterRiverside Cancer Care Center
Having many sexual partners is a risk factor for HPV infection. Although most HPV infections go away...
More Answers
What are the health risks of human papillomavirus (HPV) in men?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
For men, exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV) seems to have little effect, except that exposur...
More Answers
How to Protect Yourself from HPV
How to Protect Yourself from HPV

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.