Genital warts and the human papilloma virus (HPV)

What is it? 

HPV is a virus that causes different types of warts. One type is genital warts found on the vagina, cervix, vulva, penis, anus, rectum or urethra.

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How is it spread?

It is easily spread during sex, as well as through touching infected genital areas.

Women who are affected by HPV should speak to a sexual health specialist, as the virus may encourage pre-cancerous cells in the cervix. Other types of HPV can lead to cervical cancer.

Having regular smear tests will help detect this and may prevent cervical cancer developing.


What are the symptoms?

Most people do not develop visible warts and the virus will go away on its own.

Those who do, develop small fleshy growths on the skin, anywhere on the body. Sometimes there may be an itching or a burning sensation in the genital area.


How can I get rid of it?

Although genital warts can be treated, they may take a long time to get rid of.

There are a variety of treatments available such as:

· Laser treatment

· Freezing

· Surgery

· Prescriptive drugs – creams or liquids


Both partners should always be treated.


To help avoid getting one at all – use a condom!


*HPV will not pass through a condom, but condoms do not cover all the genital area, so it’s possible to infect skin in the surrounding area.

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