HPV can cause cancer in both men and women.1

  • Oropharyngeal cancer in both men and women
  • Vulvar, vaginal and cervical cancers in women
  • Anal cancer in both men and women
  • Penile cancer in men

Someone who develops an HPV infection can go years without having any symptoms.2

Most of the time HPV goes away on its own, other times it can cause genital warts, precancer or cancer.2

Cancer can take years, or even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV.1

Over 90% of HPV infections are cleared by the immune system within 6-18 months, however re-infection with the same or with a different HPV genotype can occur.3

Normal cervix
HPV-infected cervix
Precancerous lesion

More than 80% of women are affected over their lifetime.5


90% of hr-HPV infections clear within 2 years3

The 10% that persist for more than 2 years are highly linked to precancer.4,6

Persistence of the virus, with one of the high-risk HPV genotypes, is necessary for the development of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), also known as precancer, and for the development of cervical cancer.6

Learn more about CIN

  1. CIN describes abnormal changes in the cells that line the cervix
  2. CIN does not cause any symptoms
  3. Patients normally find out that they have CIN via cervical cancer screening
  4. CIN can go away on its own or be treated

Over time, if untreated, abnormal cells may turn into cancer cells.

The hr-HPV infections that persist are highly linked to precancer6

CIN, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; HPV, human papillomavirus; HSIL, high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions; LSIL, low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions.   

1. Cancers Caused by HPV, CDC. 2021. Accessed 3 Nov 2021.
2. Genital HPV Infection - Fact Sheet, CDC. 2021.  Accessed 3 Nov 2021.
3. Mitra A et al. Microbiome. 2016;4(1):58.
4. Schiffman M et al. J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 2003;(31):14–9.
5. Basic Information about HPV and Cancer, CDC. 2020.  Accessed 3 Nov 2021.
6. Stoler MH et al. Gynecol Oncol. 2019;153(1):26–33.
7. Cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN), Macmillan Center Support. 2021. Accessed 3 Nov 2021.