Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

  • How widespread is HPV?
    • In the United States,

      ~19,000 new HPV infections

      occur in teens and young adults every day1,a

    • Every year, there are ~14 million new HPV infections nationwide.1

      About 50% of them are in 15- to 24-year-olds.1

    a15- to 24-year-olds.

    For most people, HPV clears on its own. But, for others who don't clear the virus, it could cause certain cancers and other diseases.1

  • 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.2,3

  • What are the potential outcomes of HPV?
    HPV-related cancer and disease casesTotal percent contribution of HPVb
    Cervical cancer4 100%4
    Vulvar cancer5 30%5
    Vaginal cancer6 70%—75%6
    Anal cancer7 85%—90%7
    High-grade cervical precancers8,c 90%8
    Low-grade cervical lesions8 75%8
    Genital warts9 90%9

    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?

    CIN 3 Picture

    CIN 3

    What Anal Cancer Looks Like

    Anal cancer

    What Vulvar Cancer Looks Like

    Vulvar cancerd

    What Vaginal Cancer Looks Like

    Vaginal cancerd

    What Female Genital Warts Look Like

    Female genital warts

    What Male Genital Warts Look Like

    Male genital wartse

    dReproduced with permission from Professor RW Jones.

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

  • What are the prevalence rates of HPV diseases?

    It is estimated that in the United States, there are

    12,900 new cases of cervical cancer every year10,f

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

    While not all vaginal and vulvar cancers are caused by HPV, in the United States each year, about 4,500 women are diagnosed with vaginal or vulvar cancer caused by HPV.5,6,10,g

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

    While not all anal cancers are caused by HPV, each year nationwide, there are about 6,300 new anal cancer cases that are caused by HPV.7,10,h

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

    Every hour, there are ~40 new cases of genital warts in the United States.11

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-1206513-0001 09/17
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Human papillomavirus vaccination: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm Rep. 2014;63(RR-5):1–30.
2. 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.
3. National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). Call to action: HPV vaccination as a public health priority. Published August 2014. Accessed March 25, 2017.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Garland SM, Steben M, Sings HL, et al. Natural history of genital warts: analysis of the placebo arm of 2 randomised phase III trials of a quadrivalent human papillomavirus (types 6, 11, 16, and 18) vaccine. J Infect Dis. 2009;199(6):805–814.
10. American Cancer Society (ACS). Cancer Facts & Figures 2015. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2015.
11. Chesson HW, Ekwueme DU, Saraiya M, et al. Estimates of the annual direct medical costs of the prevention and treatment of disease associated with human papillomavirus in the United States. Vaccine. 2012;30(42):6016–6019.