The types of HPV that affect the genitals are passed on during vaginal and anal sex and less commonly, through oral sex (when the virus can then be present in the mouth or the throat). It infects the delicate, moist areas of skin that can be found around the vagina, penis and anus as well as the mouth and throat.
It is usually passed on via unprotected vaginal oral and anal sex. Remember, it is often symptomless so you or your partner may not know he or she has it. Very rarely a woman can pass on HPV to her unborn child although the risk is low and infants can usually clear the infection naturally. Risk factors for contracting HPV include:
- vaginal or anal sex without a condom,
- oral sex without using a condom or a man or a dam on a woman to provide a barrier between the mouth and the genitals,
HPV cannot be passed on by using toilet seats, baths, swimming pools or by sharing towels, clothes or cutlery.
Last updated August 27, 2018