10 Things You Should Know About Genital Warts (HPV)

By at December 20, 2010 | 1:39 pm | Print

10 Things You Should Know About Genital Warts (HPV)

by Hong Ngo

 #1.  Genital wart (venereal wart/condylomata) is known as a most common viral sexually transmitted disease

#2. Cause:                   

  • caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV-6 or HPV-11)
  • Are highly contagious  spread by sexual contact, skin-to-skin contact, and some fomites
  • There is at least  60% of chance a sexually active individual can get HPV and genital warts  from a single sexual contact with an infected person

 #3.  Signs and Symptoms: 

  • Flesh-colored to gray, soft, raised or flat growths found inside mouth and throat or near the anal region and genital area of both sexes
  • Without proper or delayed treatment, may lead small warts to enlarge and take form of cauliflower-like appearance
  • May cause itching, burning or bleeding
  • OR there maybe NO VISIBLE SYMPTOM
  • No visible wart
  • Painless

 #4.   Incubation period is unknown.  However, pregnancy, weakened immune system (i.e. HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy, and after organ transplant and consumption of anti-rejection drugs) and chronic disease (i.e. diabetes) may speed up the process causing the warts to grow in size and number

#5.  Diagnosis:

  • Direct visual examination
  • Colposcopy
  • Biopsy
  • Pap smear

 #6.  Treatment:

  • Podophyllin topical solution
  • Cryotherapy (freezing)
  • Electrocautery (burning)
  • Laser therapy
  • Surgical removal

#7.  Complication:

Even after being removed, the warts often reappear.  The reason is because the treatments can only remove the warts.  They don’t cure or eliminate genital HPV that causes the warts.  The chance of getting genital warts again is 50% for those who have had the infection.

#8.  Risk factors for getting genital warts:

  • Have multiple sexual partners  and are unable to tell if someone who you have sex with have the HPV infection
  • Have unprotected sex
  • Become sexually active at early age
  • Have other viral infections at the same time (i.e. HIV/herpes)
  • Alcohol and tobacco use
  • Stress


  • Avoid sexual intercourse with infected individuals
  • Use condoms
  • Have annual gynecological exam regularly
  • Regularly washing the external genitalia with soap and water
  • Stop drinking
  • Quit smoking

#9.  Cervical cancer:  There are more than 40 types of Human Papilloma virus, and certain types of HPV such as HPV-16 and HPV-18 are believed as one of many reasons leading to precancerous and cancerous changes in the cervix.  Therefore, it is important to have gynecological exam once a year and regular Pap smears can help detect the infection and find out any early changes or signs of cancer related to this virus.  Especially for women who have warts on the cervix, Pap smears for every 6 months after initial treatment are highly recommended to reduce a woman’s risk of having cervical cancer.

#10. Gardasil is a vaccine that has been proved to be effective in against 4 strains of HPV responsible for major cause of genital warts and cervical cancer in women.  This vaccine is recommended for girls and women age 9 to 26, and especially should be given before they become sexually active due to its lack of effectiveness in girls or women who have already been exposed to the virus. 

   Benefits of Gardasil:

  • Decrease mortality rate caused by cervical cancer
  • Reduce HPV infections and genital warts
  • Help save financial costs in healthcare and reduce anxieties and stress related to intensive follow-up procedures from abnormal Pap test results

Work cited:

1) Ferrara, Miranda H. “Genital warts” Human Disease and Condition. v.2.  2nd edition. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons/Gale Cengage Learning. 2010. 710-711. Print.

2) Ferrara, Miranda H. “Human Papilloma Virus” Human Disease and Condition. v.2.  2nd edition. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons/Gale Cengage Learning. 2010. 845-849. Print.

3) Turkington, Carol and Ashby, Bonnie Lee. “Wart” The Encyclopedia of Infectious Diseases. New York: Facts on File. 2003. 324-326. Print

4) Storck, Susan. “Genital Warts” HealthLine: Connect to Better Health. May 26, 2008. Web

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  1. […] Cancer). Cervical dysplasia is most usually caused by a sexually transmitted virus called the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV affects both men and women and is the most common sexually transmitted disease. This […]

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