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Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) —about 14 million Americans get it each year. HPV is transmitted by intimate skin-to-skin contact (vaginal, anal, or oral sex), even when an infected person has no symptoms. Most HPV infections go away on their own and never cause symptoms, but in some cases HPV can cause genital warts and cancer of the cervix, vulva, anus, penis, or throat (oropharyngeal cancer). In fact, HPV infections account for almost all cases of cervical and anal cancer, and about two thirds of all cases of penile cancer.

How to protect yourself from HPV:

  • Get vaccinated. The best way to decrease your risk of HPV-related genital warts and cancer is to get the HPV vaccine, Gardasil. HPV vaccination is a series of three shots that can be completed in 6 months. It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for people of all genders between the ages of 9 and 26. Gardasil is available at UHS and is covered by most insurance plans. To make an appointment to get vaccinated, click here or call (512) 471-4955.
  • Use condoms. Condoms don't protect against 100% of HPV infections, because HPV can infect unprotected skin around the penis, vagina, or anus, but they can still lower your risk of infection.
  • Cervical cancer screening. A pap smear is part of an annual women's health exam, and detects abnormal cells on the cervix so they can be removed before cancer develops.

Unfortunately, no screening tests are currently recommended for anal cancers, penile cancers, and oropharyngeal cancers because more information is needed to determine if these tests are effective. Genital warts can be diagnosed visually by a healthcare provider.

You can get tested for sexually transmitted infections at University Health Services. Click here or call (512) 471-4955 to make an appointment.

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Other Sexually Transmitted Infections

Hepatitis B

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