Oral human papillomavirus infection

What is Oral Human Papillomavirus Infection?

Oral Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a contagious, sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts, some cancers (including cervical and anal cancer), as well as oral cancer. Oral HPV can be passed on through direct contact with an infected person’s skin or saliva.

Symptoms of Oral HPV Infection

Oral HPV infection can cause some signs and symptoms that you should be aware of, including:

  • Recurring mouth sores
  • White, red, or silver patches in the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Pain in the tongue, throat, or mouth
  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • Hoarse voice

Prevention of Oral HPV Infection

Oral HPV infection can be prevented by using safe sex practices. To reduce your risk of HPV infection, you may want to consider the following tips:

  • Abstain from oral, anal, and vaginal sex.
  • If you choose to be sexually active, always use condoms.
  • Avoid oral contact with an infected partner.
  • Do not have multiple sexual partners.
  • Get an HPV vaccine if you are eligible.
  • Get regular screenings for HPV and other STDs.

Types of Oral HPV Infection

The most common types of oral HPV infection are high risk and low risk HPV. High risk HPV infections can cause certain types of cancer if left untreated. Low risk HPV infections are not usually associated with cancer and will likely go away on their own without treatment. Most people who have low risk HPV infections do not show symptoms and are unaware they have the virus.

Risks of Oral HPV Infection

Having an oral HPV infection can cause certain health risks, such as some types of cancer, including cervical and anal cancers. Oral HPV also increases your risk of developing mouth and throat cancers. Oral HPV infections can also lower your body’s immunity, leading to other infections.

When to See a Doctor

If you have any signs or symptoms of oral HPV infection, it is important to see a doctor right away. Your doctor can do a physical exam and discuss the treatment options available for your condition.