Human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, consists of more than 150 related viral strains. Many of the HPV strains are spread through skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. High-risk strains of HPV have been found to cause many types of cancer, including:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Vulvar cancer
  • Vaginal cancer
  • Penile cancer
  • Anal cancer
  • Oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils)

Each year, more than 20,000 HPV-associated cancers are diagnosed in women and nearly 12,000 are diagnosed in men. Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-associated cancer in women; oropharyngeal cancers are the most common in men. Studies show that in the United States, HPV is responsible for an estimated 96% cervical cancers, 93% of anal cancers, 64% of vaginal cancers, 51% of vulvar cancers and 36% of penile cancers.


Both hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) have been linked to liver cancer. While there is currently no vaccination for HCV, you can get tested for its presence and you can get vaccinated against HBV if you are at risk. HBV and HCV can be spread from person to person through unprotected sex, sharing contaminated needles (such as through injection drug use), or childbirth. Before testing began on blood donations, some people became infected through blood transfusions and blood products.