HPV Infection - Symptoms

Symptoms of an HPV infection

The most common symptoms of an HPV infection are genital warts or cervical smear abnormalities.

Most people have an HPV infection and are not aware of it because it is subclinical, i.e. invisible to the naked eye. It is also possible that some people may have genital warts without knowing it, as some warts may be hard to see.

The period between contracting the HPV virus type that causes warts and seeing the developed warts, varies so this can make it impossible to know when you were infected. Often, HPV warts will appear three to six months after sexual relations with an infected person; or they may take months to appear; or they may never appear. Likewise, the interval between an infection with HPV and a cervical smear abnormality can vary from months to decades. Abnormal smears can occur in women who have not been sexually active for many years. This makes it hard to know exactly when or from whom you got the HPV virus.

Such inconsistencies can be difficult to understand – especially for partners in long-term relationships who feel that some recent infidelity must be to blame. Partners will inevitably share HPV. There is no way to know which partner it came from or how long ago. Having HPV does not mean that a person or their partner is having sex outside the current relationship.

Evidence suggests that the majority of individuals who have ever been sexually active experience one or more genital HPV infections during their lifetime. Most HPV infections clear spontaneously.

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HPV Project New Zealand

The NZ HPV Project is supported by: 

  • An educational grant from New Zealand District Health Boards
  • CSL Biotherapies Ltd NZ for an educational grant contributing to optimisation.

Brought to you by the Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation (STIEF). 

For information or advice on where to seek help, please get in touch.

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CONTACT US


New Zealand HPV Project
C/- Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation Inc (STIEF)

PO Box 2437, Shortland Street,
Auckland 1140, New Zealand

[email protected]

Tollfree: 0508 11 12 13
If calling from mobile: 09 433 6526