It is spread through sexual intercourse with an infected individual, even oral sex for that matter and while not guaranteed to be 100 percent safe, one should use a condom if you are not sure about your current partner.
The symptoms of hpv can take weeks, months or years to manifest, when they do they can be one or more bumps or growths around the genital region. In more extreme cases they form larger clumps and take on the appearance of cauliflowers. These are what are typically known as genital warts.
Testing for hpv is currently only possible for women, using smear tests with cervical cell samples. Men unfortunately, can not know if they have it until it physically manifests.
Although hpv is not instantly life threatening. Certain types have been linked to cancerous growths, so if are women thinks she may have it, then it is a good idea to get tested sooner rather than later. That being said, men should on no account leave hpv to get worse.