HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is a common STI. It is the virus that causes genital warts and may lead to cancer of the cervix or penis.

Signs and symptoms of HPV are different for males and females.

Females, you may have HPV if you have:

  • Pinkish, red, gray or white warts on your vagina and/or anus
  • Burning, itching, pain or bleeding around your genitals

Males, you may have HPV if you have:

  • Large, soft growths on your penis or around your anus
  • Warts on your penis
  • Bleeding and/or secretion from your penis
  • Decreased force when you pee

Remember, you may have HPV and not experience any symptoms. That's why, for females, it is very important to get a yearly PAP smear that tests for signs of cancerous or pre-cancerous growth on the cervix. Early detection is your best defense so see your nurse or doctor to make an appointment for a PAP smear.

Although there is no cure for HPV, a vaccine does exist, along with removal treatment for the warts. Talk to your nurse or doctor about which is appropriate for you.

Condoms and dental dams don't always protect against HPV. However, there is a vaccination that may protect you against this virus but it only works if you don't already have HPV. Ask your nurse or doctor for more information about this vaccine.