How do you contract HPV?


Genital HPV is almost always acquired as a result of sexual activity. In most patients, no visible signs of infection are apparent (rarely a wart may be present), and no pain, discomfort or other signs are present. Condom use will cut down on the transmission of HPV, however, you can still get HPV even with a condom, because there is a 'field effect'- meaning that even though the penis is covered by the condom, the virus may live and be transmitted from the scrotum and the rest of the male genitalia.

Hand and foot warts are not sexually transmitted, but are due to contact with other people's warts or contact with surfaces (like wet gym floors or showers) that have been exposed to active warts.

Rarely, children can contract laryngeal papillomatosis (warts on the vocal cords) as a result of a baby passing through a birth canal infected with HPV. This is very rare, and HPV is not an indication for a c-section.

You cannot catch HPV from a toilet seat, pool or hot tub (unless you are having sex in it).

Wendy Fried, M.D., FACOG, FACS, is an OB/Gyn with Northern Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC in North Hills, New York

Disclaimer: The information provided in this document is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Only your own physician knows all the important details of your specific medical and personal history and should be the only one to give you advice regarding your own medical care. You should never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice or treatment because of something you have read herein. If you have any questions whatsoever about your medical health or believe you have a medical problem or disease, you should contact your medical doctor or healthcare provider.