No! HPV is spread through genital skin contact during sex. The virus passes through tiny breaks in the skin. HPV is not spread through blood or other body fluid. Condoms offer limited protection as they do not cover all of the genital skin. HPV is so common that it can be considered a normal part of life after you start to have sex. Four out of five people will have HPV at some time in their lives. most women only become aware of the fact that they have HPV when they have an abnormal Pap smear result or if genital warts appear. After it enters the body HPV behaves in one of two ways; it can stay dormant (inside the body's cells) or it can become active. When they are active, some types of HPV can cause warts. Other types cause invisible infection in the genital area, including the cervix. It can take many years for the virus to become active, and when it does, it usually only lasts for a short time. In most cases, the infection is cleared by the body in around one to two years. In a small number of women, HPV stays in the cells of the cervix. If the infection is not cleared, there is an increased risk of cervical cancer. When cervical cancer develops, HPV is found in almost all cases. Although HPV can cause cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer, this will usually take a long time - often more than 10 years.
Women’s Health Educator
Health Information Line, Women’s Health Queensland Wide
Women living in Queensland can also call our Health Information Line - a free information and referral service for Queensland women - on 3839 9988 or 1800 017 676 (toll free outside Brisbane).
Please note that all health information provided by Women’s Health Queensland Wide is subject to this disclaimer
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