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Many people who have HPV don’t even realize it because the virus often has no signs or symptoms – which means that they can pass on the virus to others without knowing it. One infected partner may be all it takes for you to get HPV. Kissing or touching a partner’s genitals with your mouth can also transmit HPV and lead to cancer of the mouth and throat.*
* GARDASIL®9 is not indicated for the treatment or prevention of mouth and throat cancers.
HPV doesn’t discriminate – there is no “type” of person who gets it. If you are sexually active, you are at risk.
MYTH: Only people with multiple sexual partners are at risk of contracting HPV.
FACT: Definitely false! Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for HPV. Since the infection often has no signs or symptoms, you may not be able to tell if you or your partner is infected. Abstinence of all sexual contact, even skin-to-skin sexual activity without penetration, is the only way to completely avoid contracting the HPV virus. All it takes is 1 infected partner for you to be infected.
MYTH: Using a condom is enough protection against HPV.
FACT: Sorry – not true! Using a condom is not a guarantee for complete protection against HPV, because they only protect the area they cover. HPV can still be contracted through skin-to-skin contact beyond the area the condom is covering. That said, using a condom is a great way to reduce your risk of HPV infection, not to mention an excellent way to protect against other sexually transmitted infections.
MYTH: Men aren’t at risk of contracting HPV.
FACT: Not true at all. Men who are sexually active are at risk of getting HPV – just like women. HPV doesn’t discriminate between the sexes – it can affect both men and women.
MYTH: If I’ve already had an HPV infection, I won’t get it again.
FACT: Not true. There are over 200 different types of HPV, with approximately 40 types that infect the genital tract. That means, even if you’ve been infected with one type of HPV, you can still be infected with another. And if you’re already infected with one type of HPV contained in the vaccine, GARDASIL®9 will help protect you against the other eight types.