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What health problems does the human papillomavirus (HPV) cause?

A persistent infection with high-risk strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) occurs in about 5 percent of women and causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer, which the American Cancer Society estimates affects about 12,900 women and kills about 4,100 annually.

HPV can also lead to anal cancer in both men and women, a cancer that affects more than 4,600 women and 2,600 men per year and causes about 600 deaths in women and 400 in men. Other health problems can result from HPV infection as well, including:

  • genital warts
  • recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP), a rare condition where warts grow in the throat
  • other less common but potentially serious cancers, including cancer of the vulva, vagina and penis and oropharyngeal cancer, a type of head and neck cancer that affects the back of the throat, base of the tongue and the tonsils

Continue Learning about HPV

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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.