Not the kind of warts you got on your feet or your fingers when you were a kid…
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the US. Some studies estimate that most of the sexually active population is exposed to at least one or more types of HPV ??? although most do not develop symptoms. Because HPV is so common, a person does not need have to have a lot of sexual partners to come into contact with this virus.
There are over 100 different viruses in the HPV family and at least 30 of these are sexually transmitted to genital tissues. Common sites of infection are the taint (perineum), the butt hole (anus & rectum), the dick (shaft and head of the penis) and the balls (scrotum).
Over 90% of people with genital HPV are completely free from symptoms. Sadly, HPV can shed from infected skin/tissues and can be transmitted through direct contact, without there being any warts present.
Not all HPV viruses cause warts; other viruses can cause abnormal cell changes on the site of infection. Warts often appear as growths or bumps, and can be raised or flat, single or multiple, small or large. And just to complicate the issue, sometimes they’re so small that they can’t be seen by the naked eye at all.
The types of HPV that cause raised external genital warts are not linked with cancer. These types are usually harmless. However, some strains can cause anal or rectal cancer in men.
Luckily, you don’t need to suffer through a biopsy to diagnose genital warts, this is only done if the bump is unusual looking or discolored, and there are no blood tests available to diagnose HPV. Most people with HPV (probably more than 90%) will self-resolve the infection within a few years from initial contact.
Currently, there is no cure for HPV. However, there are several treatment options available for genital warts most of which include freezing, burning or cutting them off. Over the counter wart treatments should NEVER be used to get rid of genital warts. Condoms are a good barrier to HPV for the areas they cover.
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