Condyloma acuminata (genital warts) are a sexually transmitted infection that causes small, skin-colored or pink growths on the labia, at the opening of the vagina, or around or inside the anus. Genital warts are the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Although warts affect both genders, more women have warts than men.
CAUSES OF GENITAL WARTS
Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are over 100 different types of HPV, which can cause different types of problems. HPV types 6 and 11 are the major causes of warts, and types 16 and 18 are the major causes of cervical cancer. The wart-producing strains of HPV do not typically cause cancer.
HPV is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact, including sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or any other contact involving the genital area (eg, hand-to-genital contact). It is not possible to become infected with HPV by touching a toilet seat. Most people with the virus do not have visible warts, but can still transmit the virus. Treating the warts may not decrease the chance of spreading the virus. Therefore, all people who are sexually active should be regarded as potential sources of HPV, not just those with visible warts.
Warts may appear weeks to a year or more after being exposed to the virus; it is not usually possible to know when or how you became infected.
GENITAL WARTS SYMPTOMS
Warts are skin-colored or pink, and may be smooth and flat or raised with a rough texture. They are usually located on the labia or at the opening of the vagina, but can also be around or inside the anus.
Most women with warts do not have any symptoms at all. Less commonly, there may be itching, burning, or tenderness in the genital area.
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