This is less of a symptom, and more of a risk factor for cervical cancer. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that causes the production of two proteins—E6 and E7—that turn off some of the tumor suppressor genes and allow the cervical lining cells to overgrow and develop mutations that can lead to cancer. Although most HPV infections clear up on their own and most pre-cancerous lesions resolve spontaneously, there is a risk for all women that HPV infection may become chronic and pre-cancerous lesions progress to invasive cervical cancer.
Virtually all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. Routine screening can prevent most cervical cancers by allowing health care providers to find and remove precancerous cells before they develop into cancer.