There are over 100 strains of HPV, most of which cause no symptoms. HPV is a very common infection that can be passed from person to person. Some types spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex. Certain types can be linked to pre-cancerous (changes in cells that may, but not always become cancer) and cancer cells in both men and women. Different strains may cause genital warts.
If a pap test finds abnormal cells, your doctor may suggest a repeat Pap test, colposcopy or biopsy and HPV test. Most women with HPV never develop cancer of the cervix, but your doctor may suggest more frequent testing. With proper monitoring, Pap smears and colposcopies, most women with HPV will not develop cervical cancer.
Currently, there is no cure for HPV. Yet there is a vaccine available to help protect you from some strains of the virus. The vaccination will not fully protect everyone who gets the vaccine and should not substitute for routine cervical screening (Pap test).
You can decrease your risk of infection by limiting your number of sexual partners, using condoms during every sexual contact and quitting tobacco.