First Signs of HPV

Fact Checked

HPV is also referred to as the human papillomavirus. It is a serious condition that is usually passed via sexual contact with an infected person. Condoms do not always protect against HPV. Direct skin contact with a person who has a lesion or wart can result in disease transmittal. Abstinence is the only way to fully protect from HPV. The only way to truly know if someone is infected with the virus is to get tested through a routine pelvic exam and pap smear for women and an inspection of the penis for men. HPV can cause a myriad of symptoms. Knowing the facts and protecting yourself may help prevent getting HPV and lead to getting the proper treatment.

Genital Warts

Genital warts are a type of wart that appears in the genital area. These are directly caused from a strain of HPV. Most genital warts do not lead to cancer. They are a non-malignant bump that can be found anywhere near the genitals such as the legs, penis, vagina or anus. Genital warts are generally painless bumps, but they can be unattractive and embarrassing for most people. They can be removed surgically using a cauterization method or by freezing.

Other Warts

There are other warts that can occur from an HPV infection: common warts, flat warts and plantar warts. Not all of these warts are spread from sexual contact. They can be spread from person to person casual contact, through contaminated shoes or shower floors. There has to be a break or tear in the skin in order for the virus to enter. Common warts generally appear as flesh-like bumps that arise on the fingers and hands. Flat warts tend to grow on the legs, arms and sometimes the face. They appear to be flat and fleshy colored but can also be brown or yellow. Plantar warts are a type of wart found on the sole of the foot. They tend to be fleshy, painful bumps with a dark center. They can spread easily from person to person and rarely spread to other areas of the body.


Certain types of lesions can be spread by HPV. Lesions are similar to a wart except they are more like an open sore. Many people refer to them as a cold sore or canker sore. They tend to form on more delicate areas of skin such as the tongue, lips, outer edges of the mouth, inside of nose, inside of mouth, tonsils and the larynx. These types of lesions generally do not cause any harm to the area or their surrounding location. They can, however, become very painful.

Abnormal Pap Smear

One sign of having HPV may be having an abnormal pap smear result. The reason for this is the test picking up the presence of abnormal cellular changes in the vaginal and cervical area. These could include pre-cancerous lesions. Most of the time the results include low-grade risk factors that are the result of an HPV infection or repeated vaginal infections caused by HPV. In some cases high-grade inconsistencies arise in which there is the pre-development of cancer cells that may lead to cervical or other types of female cancers.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer in some cases can be a direct result of carrying HPV. This means that someone who has carried a significant amount of untreated infections may develop cancer. Cervical cancer is a serious condition and needs to be treated immediately. Tests will be run to determine the stage of the cancer and what course of treatment will be necessary for survival.