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How is HPV transmitted?

Page last updated 21 June 2018

The HPV virus is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, most commonly through sexual contact. It can be through vaginal, anal or oral sex. The virus can be passed on even if there are no visible warts. 

The virus can live in the skin for many years and during that time, can be passed on through sexual contact. Even if the warts are gone, HPV can still be living in the genital skin and it is still possible to pass the virus on to your partner. It is unknown how long a person with HPV infection remains infectious, or can pass the infection on to a sexual partner.

HPV may also be passed from mother to baby during labour and birth, which can then go on to cause laryngeal infection (throat area) in infants.

Sources & Citations

  1. Australian Government. Department of Health. The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition. 4.6 Human papillomavirus. Available at: (accessed 15 April 2018).
  2. Queensland State Government Health. Human papillomavirus (HPV). Available at: (accessed 15 April 2018)
  3. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. What is HPV?. Available at: (accessed 15 April 2018)

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0131a - Date of preparation May 2018