Frequently Asked Questions
What is HPV?
  HPV is the human papillomavirus. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus. HPV is very common. It is spread through skin-to-skin contact. Around 70-80% of sexually active people have been infected with HPV and the infection rate is much higher in people with HIV.

Some types of HPV (low risk types) cause common warts of the hands or feet. Infections of the hands and feet are usually not transmitted through sexual activity. Several types of HPV (low risk types) cause genital warts on the penis, vagina, and rectum. People with HIV can get worse lesion outbreaks in or around the anus and cervical area. HPV can also cause problems in the mouth or throat or on the tongue or lips. Other types of HPV (high risk types) can cause abnormal cell growth known as dysplasia. Dysplasia can develop into anal or throat cancer in men and women, cervical cancer, or cancer of the penis.

Most infections with HPV will go away on their own, without treatment, within 2 years of infection. In some cases, the infection does not go away. The infection becomes chronic or persistent. Chronic infection with high-risk types of HPV may cause dysplasia and could eventually lead to cancer. Dysplasia around or in the anus is called anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN). Anal intraepithelial neoplasia is the development of new abnormal cells in the lining of the anus.

Dysplasia in the cervical region is called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). AIN or CIN appear to be more common in people with HIV infection than those who are HIV negative.