Genital Warts (HPV)

What are Genital Warts (HPV)?

These are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

There are many different types of HPV but two common types cause around 90% all genital warts- types 6 and 11.

Warts can appear many months to years after being infected but a lot of people who have the virus don’t develop warts. They are totally harmless and don’t lead to complications. They would go away eventually by themselves if left alone.

Symptoms?

Theses wart viruses cause fleshy growths on the genital and anal areas in both sexes. They are seen in the mouth and on the lips but less commonly.

There are some wart types that can’t be seen which can to pre-cancers and cancers of the oral, genital and anal skin. They are not the same type that cause the warts that we can see. These are mainly Types 16 and 18. These pre-cancers take a lot longer to cause symptoms after becoming infected and again, not everyone who has these infections will go on to have issues- your immune system will clear the virus in most cases.

How is it diagnosed?

Warts are diagnosed by visual inspection- there is no commonly commercial test available.

What is the treatment?

They are treated with different methods including freezing ( cryotherapy) , hyfrecation (electocautery treatment) or treatment with creams you put on at home.

Warts can recur after treatment – it may be the orginal infection your immune system hasn’t yet fought off or a new infection with a different virus type.

Girls are vaccinated against types 6,11,1,6 and 18 at school and some other high risk groups ( such as men who have sex with men) may be offered the vaccine in other health care settings.

Useful information

Visit the FPA website for more information.