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Genital Warts

Genital warts are a sexually transmitted disease caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Human papillomavirus is the name of a group of viruses that includes more than 100 different strains or types. More than 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted, and they can infect the genital area of men and women including the skin of the penis, vulva (area outside the vagina), or anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, or rectum. Most people who become infected with HPV will not have any symptoms and do not know they are infected. Certain types of HPV do not cause genital warts but may cause changes in the cervix that may lead to cervical cancer. There is no "cure" for HPV infection, although in most people the infection goes away on its own. Treatment is directed to the changes in the skin or mucous membrane caused by HPV infection, such as warts and pre-cancerous changes in the cervix. These treatments may include cryotherapy (freezing) and topical chemical remedies.

The surest way to eliminate risk for genital HPV infection is to refrain from any genital contact with another individual. For those who choose to be sexually active, a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is the strategy most likely to prevent future genital HPV infections. However, it is difficult to determine whether a partner who has been sexually active in the past is currently infected.

 

For more information:

CDC HPV fact sheet:
http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm

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