Do men and women both get HPV?


[.highlighted] Q: Dear Teal, [.highlighted] My boyfriend told me he was vaccinated against HPV and I was confused — do men and women both get HPV?

A: This is a great question and one we wish was more widely asked and understood, so thank you! Since many people associate HPV with cervical cancer, it’s easy to mistakenly think that HPV is something that only affects women and people with a cervix. However, HPV is transmitted by skin to skin contact so can be passed between two partners of any sex.

In men, HPV rarely presents with symptoms. When it does, it might be in the form of genital warts. HPV can also cause infection in other areas of the body, and lead to more serious disease such as anal or throat cancer. It’s important that both men and women are vaccinated against HPV and great that your boyfriend already had the HPV vaccine!

In women and people with a cervix, HPV can cause cervical cancer. So, it’s very important that in addition to getting the HPV vaccine, women and people with a cervix stay up-to-date on their cervical cancer screening (ie. HPV test or Pap smear).

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Deepa Thakor, MD
Family Practice Medical Advisor

Dr. Thakor, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician with the American Board of Family Medicine.

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