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A friend of mine just found out that his girlfriend had HPV cancer five years ago. They haven't had sex yet. My question is, can he get cancer if they have unprotected sex?

By Anonymous June 12, 2017 - 9:19am
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The girlfriend makes it seem like it's not a big deal, but my friend is scared that he's going to get HPV cancer from her and die. He really loves her and I feel guilty because I set them up on their initial date. Should he steer clear and find another woman. They're both in their late 30's now.

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Hello Anonymous,

Welcome to EmpowHER. Thank you for reaching out to our community on behalf of your friend.

HPV is a group of more than 150 related viruses. Each HPV virus in this large group is given a number which is called its HPV type. HPV is named for the warts (papillomas) some HPV types can cause. Some other HPV types can lead to cancer.

Men and women can get cancer of mouth/ throat, and anus/rectum caused by HPV infections. Men can also get penile HPV cancer. In women, HPV infection can also cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar HPV cancers.

HPV is transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact. You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex. HPV is so common that nearly all men and women get it at some point in their lives. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms. You can develop symptoms years after being infected, making it hard to know when you first became infected.

In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and cancer.

To reduce his risk, your friend needs to use latex condoms the right way every time he has sex. This can lower his chance of getting HPV.

But HPV can infect areas not covered by a condom - so condoms may not fully protect against getting HPV.

Be in a mutually monogamous relationship – or have sex only with someone who only has sex with you.


June 12, 2017 - 9:32am
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