What are Genital Warts?
Genital warts is a sexually transmitted infection caused by some sub-types of human papilloma virus (HPV). It is spread through skin-skin contact during oral, genital or anal sex with an infected partner.
How is HPV transmitted?
HPV is passed on through having sex. This may be vaginal sex, anal sex or close genital contact. It is also possible HPV may be passed on through oral sex.
It is thought to be possible for HPV to be passed on from hands to genitals. However if this occurs, it is uncommon.
What are the symptoms and signs of genital warts?
Warts appear as fleshy growth on the skin. They may be small or large, one or many. They can grow anywhere on the genital and anal skin. In women, they tend to be on the vulva, vagina, cervix or anus. In men, they tend to be on the penis and sometimes in the urethra, or at the anus.
It is unlikely HPV can be passed on from touching non-living objects such as toilet seats or towels.
How are genital warts treated?
There are several ways to treat genital warts including:
- Liquid Nitrogen (freezing the warts)
- Imiquamod Cream (Aldara)
- Chemicals like podophyllin paint, podophyllotoxin paint and TCA (Trichlorocetic Acid)
Most of these methods need to be used several times before all the warts are gone. Surgical methods can remove all warts at one visit but can be expensive and may require anaesthetic.
Find out more through this Patient Information Leaflet.
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