The only way to completely prevent HPV from spreading is to avoid physical contact with an infected partner.
Latex condoms may help reduce the spread of HPV infection and genital warts. Condoms are not 100% effective. They do not cover the entire genital area.
Other ways to prevent infection include:
- Abstaining from sex
- Having a monogamous relationship
- Getting regular check-ups for STDs
- For women, getting regular Pap tests (starting at age 18 or at the start of sexually activity)
A new vaccine , Gardasil, prevents infection by some, but not all, of the HPV strains that cause cervical cancer. The vaccine is routinely recommended for girls 11-12 years old. It has been found safe for females 9-26 years old.
In trials, the vaccine was linked to a reduced number of precancerous lesions on the cervix. *¹
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