Can genital HPV infections be treated?

Although there’s no treatment for the HPV virus itself, treatments are available for its effects. Most HPV infections don't cause any serious harm and are cleared by your immune system within two years.

Genital warts

Genital warts can be treated by either:

  • applying creams, lotions or chemicals to the warts
  • destroying the tissue of the warts by freezing, heating or removing them

Read more about treating genital warts.

Cervical cancer

In women, persistent infection with certain "high-risk" types of HPV can cause changes to cells in the cervix, which can increase the risk of cervical cancer. The types of HPV that cause genital warts are "low-risk" and aren’t associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer.

Abnormal cells in the cervix can be treated if detected early, which is why it’s important to attend cervical screening when invited.

Read more about treating cervical cancer.

HPV vaccination

All girls aged 12-13 are offered a vaccination against HPV to help protect them against types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer. The vaccination also helps to protect against the more common types of HPV that cause genital warts.

Read more about HPV vaccination.

Find the answers to more questions about sexual health.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 15/12/2015

Next review due: 15/12/2017