hpv awareness

Can anyone get HPV?

Someone asked us:

My teacher told me only women get HPV and not men; I don’t think that’s right or true. Could I get some clarification?

You’re right on this one. Anyone can get HPV— which is why it’s so important for everyone to get the HPV vaccine. There are a lot of different types of HPV, and most of them go away on their own and don’t cause cancer — but sometimes HPV can lead to cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, anus, penis, mouth or throat. The type of cancer that’s most often caused by HPV is cervical cancer, which is why some people associate HPV with people who have a cervix.

Unfortunately there’s no HPV test for people who are packing a penis. Those of us with a cervix can go to a doctor for an HPV or Pap test to look for HPV or any HPV-caused abnormal cells. HPV is super common, but the problems it can cause are easily treated when caught early.

Hope this helps!

-Kellie at Planned Parenthood


What does an abnormal Pap test mean for my partner and me?

Someone asked us:

Hi I recently got an abnormal papsmear and I was told I have hpv? but I didn’t have it last year my bf and i are exclusive with each other. Does this mean my bf now has it as well? And what if I’m trying to have a baby?? please help me understand I’m very stressed out.

I’m sorry you’re so stressed out. The truth is there’s probably nothing to be scared of just yet. HPV is very very common — most people will get it at some point in their lives.

Sometimes HPV is dormant and doesn’t show symptoms or show up on a Pap test until months or years after getting it, so it’s pretty much impossible to know when you got it or from whom. It’s possible your boyfriend has it, and it’s possible he had it first (just because HPV didn’t show up in your Pap last year doesn’t mean it wasn’t in your body). And there’s no HPV test for men, so there’s really no way to know if he has it.

The good news is that HPV usually clears up on its own. You may need to have Pap tests done more often for a while to see if it goes away on its own or not. If it doesn’t, your doctor can give you tests/treatment in the future to keep you healthy. And you can absolutely have a totally healthy pregnancy if you have HPV. If the HPV does progress and eventually needs treatment, you’re still very likely to have a totally healthy pregnancy. Just make sure you follow your doctor’s recommendations for how often you should get Pap tests so they can keep an eye on it.

Learn more about HPV and Pap tests>>

Hope this helps!

-Julia at Planned Parenthood