The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world today.

Approximately 75% of sexually active Canadians will have at least one HPV infection in their lifetime, with the highest rates of HPV infection occurring in young people aged 15 to 24.

There are more than 100 known types of HPV with at least 40 that cause genital warts and cancer. Low-risk types of HPV, which cause genital warts, often clear on their own. There are at least 15 cancer-causing HPV types, the most common being HPV types 16 and 18.

The focus here is on genital warts. More about HPV and the types of HPV that are associated with cancer – and how to prevent them – can be found on the SOGC’s HPV website, hpvinfo.ca.