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What are genital warts

They are small, fleshy growths or bumps appearing around the genital/anal area. Genital warts are caused by an infection of the skin with the human papilloma virus (HPV). You can contract and pass on the virus through sexual contact. The virus is most likely to spread when the warts are present.

Symptoms

It can take up to one year for warts to develop after infection. Most people with HPV infection will not develop any visible warts and the virus will disappear on its own.

The warts can appear as flat/smooth bumps, or as larger, pink lumps. Usually the warts are painless but may itch or become inflamed.

Testing

To confirm whether you have genital warts, your doctor or nurse will need to look at your skin. You can seek a check-up at a GUM clinic, sexual health clinic or your GP surgery.

Treatment

Treatment is only offered if the warts are visible. Warts can be removed. For some people they may only experience one episode of genital warts others may experience multiple episodes.

What happens if genital warts are not treated?

If you do not seek treatment the warts may disappear, remain unchanged or grow larger in size or number. They do not usually cause harm but you might find them uncomfortable.

Protection

Use condoms every time you have sex. Condoms only offer some protection as the virus can be passed on my skin to skin contact around the genital area not covered by the condom.

Further advice can be found at:
FPA http://www.fpa.org.uk/search/node/genital%20warts
NHS Choices http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/genital_warts/pages/introduction.aspx

 

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