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How Do You Get HPV?


Updated May 20, 2014

Question: How Do You Get HPV?
Answer: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that is transmitted through sexual, skin-to-skin contact. Penetration is not required to transmit the virus from one person to another, just skin contact. It can be passed through vaginal and anal sexual contact, and less commonly, via oral sex.

Because HPV can be passed on by sexual contact, not just penetration, prevention can be difficult. This makes HPV very common, affecting more than 20 million Americans. Condoms provide limited protection because there are parts of the genitals that are left unprotected during intercourse.


"HPV Vaccine." Nation Immunization Control Program. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 12 Nov 2006.

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