Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of sexually transmitted viruses that can be spread through skin-to-skin contact. HPV is the most commonly transmitted STI—about 14 million Americans get it each year. Almost all sexually active individuals will contract it at some point in their lives.
Most HPV infections go away on their own and never cause symptoms, but in some cases HPV can cause genital warts or pre-cancerous cells in the cervix, vulva, anus, penis, or throat. HPV infections account for almost all cases of cervical cancer and about two thirds of all cases of penile cancer.
If you are sexually active, most HPV infections can be prevented by using condoms and dental dams correctly and consistently. However, because HPV can also infect unprotected skin around the penis, vagina, or anus, condoms cannot completely eliminate the risk of transmission.
You can also get vaccinated against HPV. The HPV vaccine, Gardasil, is available at the Allergy, Immunization, and Travel Clinic and is covered by most insurance plans.
The Guard Your Goods campaign from UHS urges students of all genders to get vaccinated against HPV and guard their future. To make an appointment to get vaccinated, visit healthyhorns.utexas.edu or call (512) 471-4955.
You can get tested for HPV and all other STIs at University Health Services. Call (512) 471-4955 or go online to make an appointment. Currently enrolled students are eligible to apply for free STI testing at UHS with the Get Yourself Tested Fund.
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