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Cervical Cancer Screening in Women Ages 30 and Older

Photo of two women

How Do I Talk to My Partner About HPV?

You and your partner may benefit from talking openly about HPV. You can tell your partner that

  • HPV is very common. It can infect the genital areas of both men and women. It usually has no signs or symptoms and goes away on its own.
  • There is no test yet for men to find out if they have HPV. But the most common health problem caused by HPV in men is genital warts. The type of HPV found on your HPV test can cause cervical cancer in women; it does not cause genital warts.
  • Partners who have been together for a while tend to share HPV. This means that your partner likely has HPV already, even though your partner may have no signs or symptoms.
  • Having HPV does not mean that you or your partner is having sex outside of your relationship. There is no sure way to know when you got HPV or who gave it to you. A person can have HPV for many years before it is found.

Most sexually active people get HPV at some time in their lives, though most will never know it. Even people with only one lifetime sex partner can get HPV, if their partner had it.

Getting the HPV and Pap tests at the same time can safely increase screening intervals up to 5 years for women who do not have HPV and have a normal Pap test result even if they have new sexual partners.

If your sex partner is female, you should talk to her about the link between HPV and cervical cancer, and encourage her to get screened for cervical cancer.