HPV causes cervical cancer, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and genital warts. There are over 100 different types of HPV. About 40 of these infect the genital tract. Types 16 and 18 cause 65% of cervical cancers. It is known that 20 million individuals in the US are currently infected and every year 6.2 million individuals become infected. Three fourths of these new infections occur in 15-24 year olds. More than a third of women under 25 years have been infected.

HPV is sexually transmitted. Multiple sexual partners and early age of first intercourse increase the risk of infection. It is known that 80 % of women have been exposed to HPV by age 50. Most of the women who are exposed to HPV do not develop abnormal Pap tests. About 28% of the HPV positive patients have an abnormal Pap. 5% develop high-grade lesions.

GENITAL WARTS are very common and every year there are about a million new cases in the US. These are caused by HPV types 6 and 11. Local treatment of warts is effective. Types 16 and 18 cause about 65% of cervical cancers.

PREVENTION is through abstinence, regular Pap smears and vaccination. The vaccine has been available over the past three years. It is recommended until age 26.