With more than 200 types identified, human papillomavirus (HPV) commonly causes infections of the skin and mucosa. HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Although most HPV infections are transient and subclinical, some lead to clinical manifestations ranging from benign papillomas or warts to intraepithelial lesions. In some patients, persistent infection with high-risk mucosal types, especially HPV-16 and HPV-18, causes anal, cervical, oropharyngeal, penile, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. Most HPV-related cancers are believed to be caused by sexual spread of the virus. A history of multiple sex partners; initiation of sexual activity at an early age; not using barrier protection; other sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; an immunocompromised state; alcohol use; and smoking have been identified as risk factors for persistent HPV infections. Screening for HPV infection is effective in identifying precancerous lesions and allows for interventions that can prevent the development of cancer. Use of condoms and dental dams may decrease spread of the virus. Vaccination is the primary method of prevention. The nonavalent HPV vaccine is effective in preventing the development of high-grade precancerous cervical lesions in noninfected patients. Vaccination is ideally administered at 11 or 12 years of age, irrespective of the patient's sex. In general, a two-dose series is recommended if administered before 15 years of age; however, individuals who are immunocompromised require three doses.