Genital warts

Genital warts are a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can affect both men and women. They are caused by various types of human papillomavirus (HPV).

  • In women, HPV can affect the cervix, vagina, vulva, and area around the anus. Genital warts in women often cause abnormal Pap test results. Certain types of HPV increase the risk of cervical cancer.
  • In men, HPV can affect the penis, scrotum, and area around the anus.

Genital warts may continue to grow and spread, or they may go away with or without treatment. A person infected with HPV may remain infected even after treatment to remove visible warts or if the warts go away without treatment. Warts often return after treatment. Pregnancy and diabetes increase the likelihood that warts will return and increase growth of existing warts.

HPV types that cause genital warts are different from those that cause common, plantar, filiform, and flat warts.

Last Updated: July 2, 2008

Author: Sandy Jocoy, RN

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease

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