Risk factors for and prevention of human papillomaviruses (HPV), genital warts and cervical cancer

J Infect. 2013 Mar;66(3):207-17. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2012.10.024. Epub 2012 Oct 26.


Genital HPV infection is associated with development of cervical cancer, cervical neoplasia, anogenital warts, and other anogenital cancers. A number of reviews have primarily addressed the role of HPV infection in cervical carcinogenesis, and differences in human papillomavirus (HPV) subtypes found in cervical cancer cases by histology and geographical region. This review provides an informative summary of the broad body of literature on the burden of HPV, the risk factors for HPV infection, genital warts and cervical cancer, and preventive measures against these conditions in females. Studies have identified the main risk factors for genital HPV infection in females as follows: acquisition of new male partners; an increasing number of lifetime sexual partners both in females and their male partners; and having non-monogamous male partners. Cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination are the primary measures currently recommended to prevent cervical cancer. There is also an ongoing debate and conflicting findings on whether male circumcision and condom use protect against HPV infection and subsequent development of HPV-related illnesses in females.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Condylomata Acuminata / complications
  • Condylomata Acuminata / prevention & control*
  • Condylomata Acuminata / virology
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Papillomaviridae / classification
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification
  • Papillomaviridae / physiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Risk Factors
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / complications
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines