According to the Center for Disease Control, 6 million people contract HPV each year, so if you are worried that you might be one of them, you need to learn to look for HPV signs. The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection and there are over 100 different kinds of HPV. Some of these strains have some very obvious HPV signs, while others exhibit almost no signs at all.
HPV is sexually transmitted, so obviously if you are not sexually active it is highly unlikely that you have the virus, regardless of any HPV signs. For those who are sexually active, only certain strains of the virus exhibit any HPV signs at all, the rest show no outward sign that the virus is there. In about 90 percent of the cases, your immune system will successfully fight the virus and remove it from your body in about two years.
The most prominent HPV sign is the formation of genital warts. These warts appear as either small bumps or large, cauliflower-shaped areas near the genitals. These warts will usually appear within a month after contracting HPV, although they can take up to several months to appear. If you are unsure if your genital bumps are a sign of HPV, or just something else, your doctor can make a visual determination when you visit the office. In some very rare cases, HPV can cause these warts to grow in the throat.
It is important to note that while certain forms of HPV will give you warts, these forms of the virus are not the dangerous types. There are other forms of the virus that have no early HPV signs, but will eventually give you cancer. This cancer forms mostly in the cervix, but can also be found in the vulva, penis, vagina, head, neck and anus. Any outward signs of these cancers will not happen until the cancer is very advanced. So while watching for HPV signs is a good way to tell if you have the virus, getting tested is still the only way to know if you have contracted a dangerous form of HPV.