About HPV

Learn how HPV can lead to HPV-associated cancers.                                                                                 


What is HPV?


How is HPV transmitted?

As the most common sexually transmitted disease, most men and women get HPV infection in their lifetime.

  • HPV is transmitted through sexual contact (vaginal, anal, and oral)
  • Most people get their HPV infection shortly after the onset of sexual activity
  • HPV infection can persist for many years
  • HPV infection is associated with the number of sexual partners
  • HPV infection is linked to tobacco smoking

What does HPV do?

  • Most HPV infection can be cleared spontaneously without any symptoms
  • Low-risk HPV infection can cause genital warts
  • High-risk HPVs are carcinogenic
    • causing almost 100% of cervical cancer
    • causing 90% of anal cancer
    • causing 70% of oropharyngeal cancer


  • Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide
  • 85% of cervical cancer occurs in developing countries
  • Incidence has reduced 74% in countries where a pap smear or HPV screening is implemented
  • The target for cervical cancer screening coverage is 93% by 2020

  • HPV positive oral cancer has increased by 700% in the past three decades, while HPV negative oral cancer has decreased by 30%
  • It is estimated that by 2020 oral cancer will surpass cervical cancer as the most common HPV-related cancer

Oral HPV detection can prevent the development of HPV-associated oral cancer.