Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Overview of Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common viral infection that affects both men and women. Most people do not know that they have HPV because frequently there are no symptoms. There are over 100 types of HPV and about 30 types of HPV are sexually transmitted. Some types of HPV causegenital warts and other types of HPV can cause precancerous cellular changes in the cervix that may over many years lead to cervical cancer. Most of the time, a person’s immune system will clear HPV without treatment.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Usually no symptoms
  • Genital warts are flesh colored growths that appear anywhere in the genital area of men and women
  • Occasionally, genital warts can cause itching or burning


  • Abstinence
  • Condoms offer some protection against HPV.
  • The HPV vaccine helps to prevent 90% of the HPV that causes genital warts and 70% of the HPV that causes cervical cancer.
  • Regular Pap test screening helps to detect HPV of the cervix.
  • Quit or reduce smoking; smoking cigarettes is known to increase the risk of HPV.


  • Most HPV of the cervix will eventually go away on its own.
  • Cases of HPV that do not resolve can be removed by freezing, laser or surgical removal to help prevent cervical cancer from developing.
  • Genital HPV is sometimes treated with prescription cream or solution.
  • Other treatments include freezing, burning or surgical removal.

How We Can Help

  • The HPV vaccine (Gardasil) is available by appointment at SHS.
  • Well woman visits are available at the Student Health and Wellness Center for Pap test screening.
  • The CDC does not recommend routine screening for HPV in young persons. A woman’s Pap test may be used to check for HPV if the Pap is abnormal. Please discuss HPV testing and HPV vaccine with your provider.
  • If you would like to be seen by our medical staff, please contact our Appointment Desk to schedule an appointment.
  • Also, our Advice Nurse service is available at no charge for all UC Davis students to discuss health concerns and the need for medical care.