Genital warts, which are a subtype of human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common STI in America. HPV produces warts on different parts of the body (hands, feet, genitals etc), and the types that are produced on the genitals (usually types 6 and 11) are called genital warts. Genital warts are very common and often asymptomatic.
Note: Warts on the hand or foot are not the same strains of HPV as the strains found on the genitals and cannot be transmitted to the genitals.
-palpable, flesh-colored lumps on the genitals – like cauliflower
-soft, moist, pink/red swellings
-pain during intercourse if lesions are rubbed
Testing and Diagnosis
-acetic acid (vinegar): when applied to skin, lesions turn white
-HPV vaccine (protects against 90% of genital warts cases)
-regular pap smears for screening
-limit number of sexual partners
-avoiding sexual contact with someone who has genital warts when lesions are present
-wait for warts to disappear
-cryotherapy (freezing the warts)
-electrocauterization (burning the warts)
*Regular Pap smears can detect HPV and pre-cancerous cells of the cervix, thus allowing for early intervention and treatment, preventing cervical cancer. Persistent infection with HPV is the key risk for cervical cancer – get regular Pap smears to help your health!