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Condoms and HPV

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Updated April 28, 2014

Question: Condoms and HPV
Do condoms protect against HPV?
Answer: It was long thought that condoms did not provide protection against the human papillomavirus (HPV), however findings from a recent study prove that condoms do provide some protection against HPV.

The study, done at the University of Washington, found that women whose partners always wore condoms and did so correctly decreased their risk of being infected by 70 percent. Women whose partner wore a condoms more than half of the time, but not always, were fifty percent less likely to contract the virus.

HPV is spread through sexual contact, meaning no penetration is needed to contract the virus. Even if condoms are worn during intercourse and worn correctly, there is no guarantee of 100 percent protection against HPV. This is due to a condom covering only the penis, leaving the rest of the genitals uncovered. During intercourse, these unprotected areas can come in contact with the vagina.

Tips for Reducing Your Risk of HPV

Along with using condoms, there are many things you can to to help reduce your risk of HPV:
  • Limit the amount of sexual partners you have. The more sexual partners you have, the more you are putting yourself at risk for contracting HPV.

  • Considering getting the HPV vaccine. Gardasil, the current FDA approved vaccine, is available to young women ages nine through twenty-six. It protects against two types of HPV known to cause cervical cancer and two types known to cause genital warts.
    • Sources:

      1. Winer, Ph.D., Rachel, James P. Hughes, Ph.D., Qinghua Feng, Ph.D., Sandra O'Reilly, B.S., Nancy B. Kiviat, M.D., King K. Holmes, M.D., Ph.D., and Laura A. Koutsky, Ph.D.. "Condom Use and the Risk of Genital Human Papillomavirus Infection in Young Women." New England Journal of Medicine 354:2645-265422 Jun 2006. Accessed 19 Nov 2006.
      2. "HPV Vaccine Q and A." National Immunization Program. 07 July 2006. Centers for Disease Control. 19 Nov 2006.
      3. Centers for Disease and Prevention."Sexually Transmitted Disease Guidelines 2006." Sep 2006. Accessed 7 Nov 2006.

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