HPV is an abbreviation for human papillomavirus. This virus causes genital warts. Women can have these warts around the vaginal opening, in the vagina and around the anus. Men can have them round the anus and on the penis.
Genital warts can also grow in the mouth, the throat and on the vocal cords. HPV is passed on by sexual contact, such as sexual intercourse, anal sex and oral sex. Condoms give some protection but only where the condom covers the skin.
Some types of HPV result in genital warts, while others do not, but result in an increased risk of cervical cancer and other forms of cancer both in men and women. Long-term HPV infection can result in both men and women having cancer of the mouth, the pharynx (part of the throat) and the anus. Men can also get cancer of the penis.
See HPV vaccine.