The more sexual partners you have, the greater your chances are of getting an HPV infection. Using condoms may reduce your chances of getting infected, but condoms do not always help because HPV can be present in areas not covered by the condom. The immune system also determines whether one may develop a HPV infection when exposed. People with poorly functioning immune systems are more likely to get a HPV infection. Smoking increases the risk for getting HPV when exposed to the virus.
There is no good evidence that toilet seats, doorknobs, towels, soaps, swimming pools or hot tubs, can transmit HPV. However, some unexplained cases of HPV lesions do occur and one should never rule out the possibility of non-sexual transmission.
HPV can remain latent or dormant in some people for years or decades before developing warts or cervical disease, so it is usually not possible to determine exactly when, or from whom, an individual contracted the virus. There is no test that can identify ALL types of HPV infection and there is no test that can identify past exposure to infection. Like all other virus infections, HPV infection cannot be cured.