Safe Sex, Videos

What is HPV and How Can You Protect Yourself From It?

July 26, 2019 by Justin Lehmiller

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. More than one hundred strains of HPV exist and, while most of them don’t cause problems, some do—and those problems are potentially quite serious. For example, HPV has been linked to cancers of the cervix, throat, and anus.

So what exactly happens inside the body when someone contracts one of the dangerous strains of HPV? How can you learn whether or not you’ve been infected? And what can you do to reduce the risk of contracting an HPV infection?

The answers to these and other HPV-related questions are covered in the TEDEd video below. I like this video a lot because it very succinctly captures the science of HPV (including how the HPV vaccine works) and distills it for viewers in a way that’s easy to digest and that offers some very clear takeaways.

Check it out—and to learn more about HPV, read these articles, too:

Watch more videos on the science of sex here.

Want to learn more about Sex and Psychology ? Click here for previous articles or follow the blog on Facebook (, Twitter (@JustinLehmiller), or Reddit ( to receive updates. You can also follow Dr. Lehmiller on YouTube and Instagram.

Image Source: 123RF/Stepan Popov

Post Featured Image
Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

Read full bio >