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Testing for human papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is the most common STBBI, and an estimated 75% of sexually active men and women will contract at least one HPV infection during their lifetime, according to Health Canada and the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ).

Description of the infection

There are more than a hundred different strains of HPV (human papillomavirus), and over forty that affect the genitals and anus in both men and women.

HPV is most often contracted through sexual contact, but can also be transmitted through genital, oral-genital and even skin-to-skin contact. That is why wearing a condom doesn’t fully eliminate the risk of contracting HPV. HPV can cause genital warts and lesions in the throat. The infection often manifests soon after sexual contact. The lesions and warts may disappear after 18 months, but that does not necessarily mean that the infection has healed.


Diagnosis is made by examining the warts or through a Pap test, which can detect precancerous and cancerous lesions.

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