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HPV infections are passed on through skin-to-skin contact – often through a cut, abrasion or small tear in your skin.
Genital HPV infections can be passed on through: Remember, the vaccine only protects against certain strains of HPV, and does not guarantee that you will not develop genital warts or cancer in the future.
We quickly realized that everyone we knew seemed to have HPV, and it really wasn't even that big of a deal. Here is the irony: If everyone we know (including ourselves) seems to have HPV, why can none of us ever explain what exactly HPV is?If HPV is SO common, how come hardly any of my friends — sophisticated, city-bred, educated and sex-positive men and women — have a general understanding of the virus beyond "warts, gross"?In recent years, I've taken it upon myself to get a little more educated about all STDs, not just because I'm a sexually-charged girl creature, who has found herself at risk more times than she cares to count, but because, girl, I'm getting I decided to call upon STD expert Dr. Hunter Handsfield, MD, Professor Emeritus of Medicine, University of Washington Center for AIDS and STD, to find out exactly what HPV feels like, how we get it and how to prevent it. Handsfield schooled me in everything we need to know about this elusive, mysterious ~virus~ we all have (unless we've had the Gardasil vaccine, but more on that later). Handsfield, he quickly informed me that it's not something to panic over.I'll never forget when my best friend Violet* found out she had HPV.We were super young — maybe 15 years old — and she had an unusual pap smear, so she got tested and found out she had HPV. HPV was an STD, and STDs were the scariest things we knew nothing about. Violet was emotionally scarred and deeply terrified that, for the rest of her life, she would have to carry the stigma of having an STD, and she dutifully swore off sex for the next two years.