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How Is HPV Transmitted?

HPV is transmitted through both sexual and nonsexual skin-to-skin contact. Any contact with affected skin can spread the virus. However, it’s most commonly spread through skin contact when having vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Condoms can reduce the risk of transmitting HPV to your partner during sexual activity, but they do not ensure 100% protection, even when used regularly and properly.

Hand and Oral Transmission

Though rare, HPV can be transmitted from the hands and mouth to the genitals. You might also be able to spread HPV through open-mouth kissing, but researchers haven’t yet determined its likelihood. They’re currently studying exactly how oral HPV spreads.

Infection Without Symptoms

One of the reasons HPV gets spread so easily is that most people don’t know they have it. You can be infected with HPV without showing symptoms, and so can your partner. In fact, many long-term couples share the virus. Just because someone isn’t showing signs doesn’t mean they don’t have HPV. As long as the active virus is present on the skin, HPV can be transmitted to others.

While there is currently no HPV test for men, women can test for HPV from the privacy of their homes using screening kits available from Nurx™.

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