Skip to main content

How is HPV transmitted?

Page last updated 28 April 2020

The HPV virus is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, most commonly through sexual contact. It can be through vaginal, anal or oral sex. The virus can be passed on even if there are no visible warts. 

The virus can live in the skin for many years and during that time, can be passed on through sexual contact. Even if the warts are gone, HPV can still be living in the genital skin and it is still possible to pass the virus on to your partner. It is unknown how long a person with HPV infection remains infectious, or can pass the infection on to a sexual partner.

HPV may also be passed from mother to baby during labour and birth, which can then go on to cause laryngeal infection (throat area) in infants.

Sources & Citations

  1. Australian Government. Department of Health. The Australian Immunisation Handbook – Rubella. Available at: (accessed 19 March 2020).
  2. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Rubella complications. Available at: (accessed 19 March 2020).
  3. World Health Organization. Measles factsheet. Available at: (accessed 19 March 2020).

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0131(1) - Date of preparation April 2020