There are smart choices you can make when it comes to protecting yourself against HPV.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the only way you can totally protect yourself against HPV is to avoid any sexual activity that involves genital contact. Remember: Many people who have HPV don’t even know it.

If you are having any kind of sexual contact:

  • Use a condom. Condoms may lower the risk of HPV if used all the time the right way. But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom—so they may not fully protect against HPV.
  • Limit your sexual partners. You can be exposed to HPV by having genital contact just once with another person who has the virus.
  • Know that there is currently no routine screening for men. So as far as HPV protection goes, there is no way to know if a guy has the virus or is passing it on.
  • Get a regular Pap test. A Pap test doesn’t diagnose HPV. But, it can look for abnormal cells (that are caused by HPV) in the lining of the cervix before the cells become precancer or cancer. To determine if an abnormal Pap test is caused by HPV, your doctor can order an HPV test.
  • Consider getting vaccinated against certain HPV-related diseases. Talk to your doctor or health care professional to learn more about getting vaccinated.

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