Is Human Papillomavirus Contagious?
Transmission of Human Papillomavirus from Person to Person
Human Papillomavirus is considered to be contagious between people.
Generally the infectious agent may be transmitted by saliva, air, cough, fecal-oral route,
surfaces, blood, needles, blood transfusions, sexual contact, mother to fetus, etc.
Human Papillomavirus, although infectious, is not a genetic disease. It is not caused by a defective or abnormal gene.
The contagious disease, Human Papillomavirus, can be transmitted:
- by sexual conduct between people.
- from the mother to her fetus.
- from person to person by saliva, air, coughing, contact, surfaces, fecal-oral route, etc.
The types of
HPV that infect the genital area are spread primarily through sexual
contact. Most HPV infections have no signs or symptoms; therefore, most
infected persons are completely unaware they are infected, yet they can
transmit the virus to a sex partner. Rarely, pregnant women can pass HPV
to their baby during vaginal delivery. A newborn that is exposed to HPV
during delivery can develop warts in the larynx (voice
box). (Source: excerpt from HPV: DSTD)
Genital warts are very
contagious and are spread during oral, genital, or anal sex with an
infected partner. About two-thirds of people who have sexual contact
with a partner with genital warts will develop warts, usually within
three months of contact. (Source: excerpt from Human Papillomavirus and Genital Warts, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)
About contagion and contagiousness:
Contagion and contagiousness refers to how easily
the spread of Human Papillomavirus is possible from one person to another.
Other words for contagion include "infection", "infectiousness",
"transmission" or "transmissability".
Contagiousness has nothing to do with genetics
or inheriting diseases from parents.
For an overview of contagion,
see Introduction to Contagion.