Causes: With over 100 different strands of the virus, 40 of which can affect the genitals, anus, mouth or throat, HPV is the most common STD. Two types of HPV can cause genital warts and nearly a dozen other strands can result in cancer. Cervical cancer is the most common, but these types have caused cancer in the throat, vagina, vulva, penis, and anus.
How you get it: Similar to herpes, HPV only requires skin-to-skin contact to be contracted.
Symptoms: With lower risk, non-cancer-causing HPV types, genital warts will appear. They look similar to those warts people get on their hands or feet.
Cancer-causing HPV is symptomless unless it’s developed into the pre-cancerous cells or cancer. Regular check-ups are extremely important to making sure you don’t develop problems from symptomless high-risk HPV.
Most affected group: This varies a lot as it is extremely common. According to the CDC, in 2013–2014, "any genital HPV prevalence among adults ages 18 to 59, was 42.5 percent in the total population, 45.2 percent among men, and 39.9 percent among women; high-risk genital HPV prevalence was 22.7 percent in the total population, 25.1 percent among men, and 20.4 percent among women."
Cure: While there is no cure for HPV, there are multiple procedures to remove pre-cancerous cells from the cervix for women. There are also vaccines available to prevent both cancer-causing and genital wart-causing types of HPV.
If left untreated: As stated above, if left untreated, high-risk HPV can turn cancerous.