There are a number of things that can help decrease the risk of getting HPV.
Vaccines are available to prevent certain types of HPV that cause most cases of genital warts and cervical cancer, as well as some other cancers. These are often offered to adolescent girls, men who have sex with men and people with HIV. It’s best to have the vaccine before you start having sex, although it’s sometimes possible to get the vaccine later in life. Ask a healthcare worker to find out if you can get the HPV vaccine where you are.
Using a new condom or dental dam every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex will help. But, HPV can affect areas not covered by a condom, so you’re not fully protected.
Use a new dental dam or latex gloves for exploring your partner’s anus with your fingers, mouth or tongue. Using latex gloves for fisting will also help to lessen the risk.
Always cover sex toys with a new condom for each partner and wash them after use.
Having regular STI tests is one of the best ways to look after your sexual health. If you are having sex with multiple partners, it’s even more important to use condoms and get tested regularly even if you don’t have any symptoms.
Taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the contraceptive pill or any other type of contraception – apart from condoms – won’t protect you from HPV and other STIs.