Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

  • How widespread is HPV?
    • Every day


      new HPV infections occur in the United States1,a

    • Modeling estimates suggest

      75% to 80%

      of males and females will be infected with HPV in their lifetime1,2,a

    aEstimate represents about 40 HPV types, not just Types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.1

    Though most HPV infections clear on their own, persistence of certain HPV types can lead to clinically significant diseases1

  • How is HPV acquired and transmitted?

    HPV is most commonly acquired and transmitted through sexual intercourse. However, it can be spread through many types of genital contact—intercourse is not necessary. In addition, it may take only 1 encounter to be infected with the virus. Individuals can acquire HPV from others who are infected but who don't have visible disease or lesions.3,4

  • What are the potential outcomes of HPV?
    HPV-related cancer and disease cases Total percent contribution of HPVb
    Cervical cancer5 100%5
    Vulvar cancer6 30%6
    Vaginal cancer7 70%-75%7
    Anal cancer8 85%-90%8
    High-grade cervical precancers9,c 90%9
    Low-grade cervical lesions9 75%9
    Genital warts10 90%10

    bPercentages include all HPV types, not just Types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

    cHigh-grade cervical precancers defined as CIN 2/3.

    CIN=cervical intraepithelial neoplasia.

  • What can HPV diseases look like in males and females?

    The Pulpit Rock

    CIN 3

    The Pulpit Rock

    Anal cancer

    The Pulpit Rock

    Vulvar cancerd

    The Pulpit Rock

    Vaginal cancerd

    The Pulpit Rock

    Female genital warts

    The Pulpit Rock

    Male genital wartse

    dReproduced with permission from Professor RW Jones.

    eReproduced with permission from © 2009 New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated.

  • What is the prevalence of HPV diseases?

    It is estimated that in 2014, there were

    12,360 new cases of cervical cancer11,f

    fEstimate represents cervical cancer cases caused by all oncogenic HPV types, not just Types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

    8,020 new cases of vulvar/vaginal cancer11,g

    Number includes ~4,850 vulvar cancer cases and ~3,170 vaginal and other female genital cancer cases.

    gEstimate represents vulvar and vaginal cancer cases caused by all oncogenic HPV types, not just Types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

    4,550 new cases of anal cancer in females and 2,660 new cases of anal cancer in males11,h

    hEstimate represents anal cancer cases caused by all oncogenic HPV types, not just Types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

    Every year, 360,000 new cases of genital warts are estimated to occur4

Disease Information

DISCLAIMER: By clicking on the link below, you will be directed away from to another Web site. Merck does not review or control the content of the site to which the hyperlink connects; therefore, the hyperlink does not constitute an endorsement by Merck.

Additional disease information can be found at:

CDC Information

CDC=Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

VACC-1206513-0000 02/17
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Human papillomavirus. In: Atkinson W, Hamborsky J, Stanton A, et al, eds. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. 12th rev ed, 2nd printing. Washington, DC: Public Health Foundation; 2012:139–150.
2. Koutsky L. Epidemiology of genital human papillomavirus infection. Am J Med. 1997;102(5A):3–8.
3. Winer RL, Lee S-K, Hughes JP, et al. Genital human papillomavirus infection: incidence and risk factors in a cohort of female university students. Am J Epidemiol. 2003;157(3):218–226.
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Genital HPV infection - fact sheet. Updated 18 March 2013. Accessed May 6, 2015.
5. Walboomers JMM, Jacobs MV, Manos MM, et al. Human papillomavirus is a necessary cause of invasive cervical cancer worldwide. J Pathol. 1999;189(1):12–19.
6. de Sanjose S, Alemany L, Ordi J, et al. Worldwide human papillomavirus genotype attribution in over 2000 cases of intraepithelial and invasive lesions of the vulva. Eur J Cancer. 2013;49(16):3450–3461.
7. Alemany L, Saunier M, Tinoco L, et al. Large contribution of human papillomavirus in vaginal neoplastic lesions: a worldwide study in 597 samples. Eur J Cancer. 2014;50(16):2846–2854.
8. Alemany L, Saunier M, Alvarado-Cabrero I, et al. Human papillomavirus DNA prevalence and type distribution in anal carcinomas worldwide. Int J Cancer. 2015;136(1):98–107.
9. Guan P, Howell-Jones R, Li N, et al. Human papillomavirus types in 115,789 HPV-positive women: a meta-analysis from cervical infection to cancer. Int J Cancer. 2012;131(10):2349–2359.
10. Garland SM, Steben M, Sings HL, et al. Natural history of genital warts: analysis of the placebo arm of 2 randomized phase III trials of a quadrivalent human papillomarvirus (types 6, 11, 16, and 18) vaccine. J Infect Dis. 2009;199(6):805–814.
11. American Cancer Society (ACS). Cancer Facts & Figures 2014. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2014.