How can you avoid getting HPV or genital warts

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Ways that lower your risk of getting other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may also work to lower your risk of getting HPV or genital warts:

• Abstain from having sex.

• Abstain from sex with a person who has visible warts (although some infected people may not have visible warts but can still transmit the infection).

Have sex with only one other uninfected person who has sex only with you (long-term mutual monogamy). Two people who are not infected cannot spread the infection to each other (although it's difficult to know if your partner is infected).

• Have sex with fewer people. The more people you have sex with, the greater your chance is of getting HPV.

• Select a sexual partner who has had fewer partners themselves (although this may be difficult to know for sure). People who have many sex partners are at higher risk of getting HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

• Use a latex condom every time you have sex. Evidence of the effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing HPV transmission is unclear. But, latex condoms, used correctly and every time, may reduce the risk of developing HPV-associated cervical cancer. Latex condoms can also reduce your risk of getting some other sexually transmitted diseases and can decrease the chance of on unintended pregnancy.

• If you think you may have genital warts, do not have sex, and speak with a doctor right away. Treatment of your genital warts may reduce (but probably not eliminate) the chance of you infecting your partner.

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