Genital Warts

What Causes Genital Warts

Warts are caused by viruses. They are sometimes referred to as ano-genital warts or medically as condyloma acuminata. There is a family of viruses called HPV which produce all kinds of warts in different parts of our skin.

The different subtypes of HPV are given numbers. There are over 100 subtypes of HPV. The majority of anogenital warts are HPV type 6 and 11 and these subtypes are entirely harmless other than giving bumps on the skin.

TThey are sexually transmitted. Skin to skin contact of the genitals and the mouth are the most common way that the virus are passed. There are other subtypes of HPV that increase the risk of cervical cancer. Vaccines to prevent these precancerous infections have recently been introduced.

The incubation period is usually between one month and one year.

The prevalence of genital warts depends on a number of risk factors, but appears to be highest in people between 15-25 years of age. Two thirds of those infections that are detected are in women. The numbers of people with genital warts has increased dramatically over the last 25 years. It is thought that about 15% of the sexually active population are infected and that about 1% have genital warts.

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