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The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes warts, including genital warts, and may cause cervical cancer and changes in the cervix that can lead to cancer. HPV is spread by direct contact.
There are more than 100 known types of HPV.
There is no known cure for HPV. Most warts and HPV infections go away without treatment within 2 years. But medicines and treatments are available to help warts disappear more quickly. HPV remains in the body with or without treatment, so warts or HPV infections of the cervix may come back.
The HPV vaccine can help prevent HPV infection. It can be given to males and females 9 to 26 years old.
Last Revised: June 21, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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