human papillomavirus (HYOO-mun PA-pih-LOH-muh-VY-rus)

A type of virus that can cause abnormal tissue growth (for example, warts) and other changes to cells. Infection for a long time with certain types of human papillomavirus can cause cervical cancer. Human papillomavirus may also play a role in some other types of cancer, such as anal, vaginal, vulvar, penile, oropharyngeal, and squamous cell skin cancers. Also called HPV.