STDs | Chlamydia | Genital Warts | Gonorrhea | Herpes | Shigella | Syphilis
HPV, or genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are over 100 types of HPV, at least 10 of which affect the genital region. You can catch these through anal, oral or vaginal sex. While condoms protect you during penis to anus contact, warts can still be spread from areas around your genitals.
How it's spread
HPV is very contagious and is easily spread during sex with an infected partner. It is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact during anal, vaginal and less frequently oral sex with someone who is infected. HPV is not transmitted through casual contact such as hugging, shaking hands, sharing food, using the same eating utensils, drinking from the same glass, sitting on public toilets, or touching door knobs.
Symptoms may include:
- Small flesh bumps, or warts in and around the sex organs or anus
- Itching on the fleshy bumps;
- Although warts may go away or may be removed, the virus remains in the body and a recurrence of warts is common.
- Like many STDs, HPV infections often do not have signs and symptoms that can be seen or felt. If you are infected and have had warts removed, you may still be able to spread HPV to your sexual partner(s) and/or develop complications from the virus.
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Treatment of genital warts, removes the warts and does not cure the viral infection. A healthcare provider may chose one of several methods to treat genital warts. Warts on the genitals may be frozen with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy).
- Liquid nitrogen treatment - The healthcare provider applies the liquid nitrogen over the course of multiple office visits until the warts are completely gone.
- Podophyllin - Warts on the genitals may be treated weekly with podophyllin by your healthcare provider. You may also be prescribed a medicine called podofilox (brand name: Condylox), which is applied to the warts at home twice a day for three days, and then rest for four days. This “do at home” process is repeated weekly until the warts are gone.
- Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) - With this method for removing genital warts, the healthcare provider passes a sharp instrument shaped like a loop underneath the wart, cutting the wart out of the skin.
- CO 2 laser surgery - For large warts in the genital area, laser surgery may be needed for complete removal.
- Iterferon injections - For genital warts that don't go away after they've been treated with other methods, your healthcare provider may try an interferon injection into the warts. Interferon is a chemical produced in our bodies, to help our immune systems fight infection. An injection of interferon into the wart may help your body's immune system fight the virus that is causing the wart. Generally, interferon is injected into warts twice a week for up to eight weeks, or until the warts are gone.
Warts on the skin (such as on the fingers, feet and knees) and warts on the genitals are removed in different ways. DO NOT try any home remedies or over-the-counter drugs to remove warts on the genital area. You may damage your genital area by doing so.
Abstinence is the only 100% effective way of preventing genital warts. HPV is passed on by skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. However, if you chose to engage in sexual activities and are unsure if you or your partner is possibly infected, consistent and correct use of latex barriers (condoms) can help reduce the risk of transmission. Warts may not always appear in the place where skin contact occurred and only areas covered by condoms, dams or gloves are protected from infection. Washing your hands right after sex can also help prevent transmission.
If you feel that you or someone you know my have been infected with HPV click on the following link for testing sights. Click here for testing sites.
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