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Skidmore College
Health Services

HPV/ Cervical Cancer

HPV stands for Human Papilloma Viruses, which are a group of viruses that cause warts (papillomas). Some types of HPVs have been linked to certain types of cancer and over 30 of the 100 types of HPVs can be transmitted through sexual contact.

Most HPV infections will come and go on their own over a few years time and they do not usually cause any symptoms. Warts usually appear within several weeks of sexual interaction with a person infected with HPV, or they may take months or years to appear. In women, warts usually appear outside the vagina in the area between the vagina and the anus.

HPV has been recognized as the major cause of cervical cancer and has been linked to cancer of the anus, vulva, vagina, and some cancers of the oropharynx (the middle part of the throat).

Testing of cervical cells can tell if HPVs are present and this is usually done using a Pap test which can be performed during an annual pelvic exam. Treatment for genital warts is also offered at Health Services.

In women, the warts usually appear in the outside and inside of the vagina, on the opening of the uterus (cervix), or around the anus. In men, genital warts are less common and if present usually appear on the tip of the penis although they may be found on the shaft of the penis, on the scrotum, or around the anus. Rarely, genital warts can also appear in your mouth or throat if you have oral sex with an infected person.

Since most HPV is transmitted by direct skin to skin contact with an infected individual, having many sexual partners is a risk factor for HPV infection. Other risk factors are smoking and having many children.

HPV transmission can occur when there are warts present but also when there are not warts present and this virus is very contagious.

You can have a pelvic exam with a Pap test through Health Services. Health Services is located on the 1st floor of Jonsson Tower and their phone number is (518) 580-5550

Pelvic exams are FREE but there is a fee for the Pap test.

For more information on HPV you can visit the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease or the National Cancer Institute