What the human papilloma virus (HPV) is
There are over 100 different types of human papilloma virus (HPV). It is sometimes called the wart virus or genital wart virus because some types of HPV cause genital warts. A number of HPV types are passed on from one person to another through sexual contact. Many women will be infected with the HPV virus at some point during their lifetime. Often the virus causes no harm and goes away without treatment.
HPV and cancer
Some types of HPV can increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is cancer of the neck of the womb. Almost 3,400 women are diagnosed with this type of cancer every year in the UK. Most women infected with HPV don’t go on to develop cervical cancer. But for some, infection with HPV can go on to cause
- Genital warts
- Changes in the cervix, which may develop into cervical cancer
- Changes in the vaginal tissues, which may develop
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