The warts often look like fleshy, raised growths. They can have a cauliflower shape and often appear in groups. Some warts may be flat. The warts may not be easy to see. Warts can take 3 weeks to 18 months to appear after the infection.
Warts usually do not cause problems, but a person may have:
- Bleeding or irritation on contact
There is no cure. The virus stays in the body.
Treatment depends on the size of the warts and where they are on the body. Not all warts need to be treated. Some may go away on their own, but others may stay. Some warts may also get larger or spread.
Warts may also be removed by:
- A cream, ointment, resin, solution, or acid medicine put on the skin
- Cryosurgery (freezing)
- Electrocautery (burning)
- Laser treatment
- Surgery to remove large warts
The warts may come back after treatment.
To lower the risk of genital warts:
- Do not have oral, anal, or genital sex with someone who has HPV.
- Limit sex to 1 partner.
- Use latex condoms during sex.
There is a vaccine for the virus. It is given over 6 months as a series of 3 shots to girls and boys. It is routinely given between the ages of 11 to 12 years old. It may be given between the ages of 9 years to 26 years old.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Anogenital Warts; Condyloma Acuminata; Human Papillomavirus [HPV]; Penile Warts; Venereal Warts; Warts, Genital)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
Planned Parenthood http://www.plannedparenthood.org
Health Canada https://www.canada.ca
Sex Information and Education Council of Canada http://www.sieccan.org
Condyloma acuminatum. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/condyloma-acuminatum. Accessed October 16, 2020.
Genital warts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm. Accessed October 16, 2020.
Human papillomavirus (HPV). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hpv. Accessed October 16, 2020.
Immunization schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html. Accessed October 16, 2020.
Workowski KA, Bolan GA; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2015 Jun 5;64(RR-03):1-137.