HPV Description

These flesh colored growths appear in the genital area and are easily spread by sexual contact. In North America, this is the most common STD caused by a virus, with statistics by the CDC noting at least 50% of sexually active men and women having a genital HPV or Human Papilloma Virus at some point in their lives.

Genital warts occur in both men and women and are highly contagious. Sexual contact with an infected person comes with a 60% chance of contracting this virus. Certain forms are linked to cervical and penile cancer.

Genital warts are associated with the use of birth control pills because of the increase in sexual contact that occurs without barrier protection such as a condom.

Comparing this STD, here is another one which called blue waffle disease via the article.

Genital Warts Symptoms

Typically painless, the symptoms of HPV genital warts are still annoying because of their location on the body. Once infected, it could take one to three months or more for genital warts to actually appear. In some cases, no warts ever do appear.

The size of the warts may be from less than one millimeter to several square centimeters when they form clusters. They may look flesh colored, pink or red or may look similar to small parts of a cauliflower. In some cases they are even too small to see.

Warts in more than one area are common. In men, they may appear on the penis tip, shaft, scrotum or anus. In women, they will appear around the genital area, inside or outside of the vagina or on the cervix and anus. Additionally they can develop in the mouth or throat of a person who has had oral sex with an infected partner.

More symptoms see here on Healthline.

HPV Tests

A complete physical examination by a doctor will reveal the presence of visible growths. In some cases, lesions must be viewed via an enhancing technique called aceto-whitening if they are too small to see. A Pap smear should always accompany any tests to search for HPV infection or abnormal cells on the cervix.

A biopsy of cervical tissue can be done if lesions appear abnormal. Tests are also performed to detect the presence of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis since STDs often occur together and share similar symptoms.

HPV Treatment

No single treatment can kill the virus that causes warts. In a minority of cases, they may go away on their own over a period of months. In most other cases, a doctor must remove them either by laser, freezing or by applying chemicals. Some HPV genital warts are treatable with a prescription, others require surgery. Those removed with surgery have the highest cure rates and lowest recurrence rates.

Recurrence is an issue, and having the disease increases risks for cervical cancer of cancer of the penis. Annual check-ups will help safeguard against cancers.

Recently, the drug Gardasil was approved by the FDA to protect against infections from the four strains of the genital warts virus.

Get details about the treatment options here.

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