Common warts

It's difficult to prevent HPV infections that cause common warts. If you have a common wart, you can prevent the spread of the infection and formation of new warts by not picking at a wart and not biting your nails.

Plantar warts

You may reduce the risk of contracting HPV infections that cause plantar warts by keeping your feet clean and dry, wearing clean socks, and wearing shoes or sandals in public pools and locker rooms.

Genital warts

You can reduce your risk of developing genital warts and other HPV-related genital lesions by:

  • Being in a mutually monogamous sexual relationship
  • Reducing your number of sex partners
  • Using a latex condom, which may prevent some but not all HPV transmission

HPV vaccines

A vaccine known as Gardasil protects against the strains of HPV that cause most genital warts. Gardasil also protects against the HPV strains most likely to cause cervical cancer. Another vaccine, called Cervarix, protects against cervical cancer but not genital warts.

The national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends routine HPV vaccination for girls and boys ages 11 and 12. If not fully vaccinated at ages 11 and 12, they recommend that girls and women through age 26 and boys and men through age 21 receive the vaccine. However, men may receive the HPV vaccine through age 26 if desired. These vaccines are most effective if given before becoming sexually active.

Mar. 12, 2013