Anyone with visible signs of HPV, such as warts, should not engage in any sexual activity – including oral sex. Even when treatment starts you are still contagious so you should abstain for two weeks after treatment has ended. This will prevent HPV from being spread to others.
If you do test positive for HPV, it is vital to contact any previous sexual partners as they may be at risk and be spreading the infection to others.
Although there is no treatment for the virus, which the body usually fights off naturally, warts present on the body can be treated with prescription creams or lotions or chemicals or by destroying the warts through freezing, heating or removing them.
If the HPV test shows women have high-risk HPV strains, you should have a cervical smear test to rule out whether they have altered the cells in the cervix, which may change into cancer cells. Pre-cancerous cells can be removed with a minor procedure under general anaesthetic.
HPV is contagious so even if you are in a long-term relationship, consider getting tested every year. If you have multiple partners, get tested every three months or each time you change partner.
Last updated July 3, 2018