Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that infects the skin and mucous membranes. There are about 100 types of HPV, and approximately 30 of those are spread through genital contact (typically sexual intercourse). Around 12 types - called “low-risk” types of HPV - can cause genital warts. In addition, there are approximately 15 “high-risk” types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer. Infection with the common types of “genital” HPV can be prevented with the HPV vaccine. However, vaccination is only fully effective if administered before a girl or young woman has been exposed to those types of HPV through sexual contact. In addition, the vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer.