Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a nasty virus. Actually, it’s a group of 150+ different related viruses (called types or strains).
Papilloma means wart. HPV can cause warts to appear in bumps–raised or flat, small or large–and sometimes in formations that can look cauliflower-like. These warts love to hang out in mucous-membrany areas such as the mouth, throat, genitals, and anus, but it’s not at all uncommon to find them on your hands (common warts) and feet (plantar warts), as well. In fact, sixty of the 150+ types cause hand and foot warts.
My guess is you’ve had one. Am I right? I have. In fact, I get them on the soles of my feet all the time.
HPV is so common that nearly all men and women get one type at some point in their lives. Don’t freak out.
So how do you get it?
You get warts through other people who have warts—skin-to-skin contact. Most often the spread comes from intimate contact. And in many cases, the infected person doesn’t even know they have it because they show no signs or symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms don’t develop until years after being infected.
So, why is it important for me to talk about warts?