Genital Warts

What are genital warts?

Genital warts, also called Condyloma Acuminata, are a viral infection affecting the genital area. This specific type of wart is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Genital warts can affect any skin in the groin or anal region. People who are immunocompromised can develop numerous lesions since their immune system is suppressed which makes treating genital warts more difficult.

What do genital warts look like?

Genital warts can be flat, raised, rough, and vary in size from a single lesion to a larger warty plaque.

How do you get genital warts?

Genital warts are typically transmitted from direct skin-to-skin contact. Sexually active individuals are at highest risk for contracting genital warts; however, if young children get these, it is a red flag for abuse. Pregnant women with genital warts can transmit the warts to their baby during delivery which can result in respiratory issues for the infant.

How are genital warts diagnosed?

Clinical diagnosis based on a thorough exam is how most genital warts are diagnosed. Skin biopsy can be done to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other lesions that can look similarly. A wart-like growth with a history of bleeding or other irregularities can raise concern for malignancy.

Are genital warts contagious?

Genital warts are contagious. Individuals with genital warts on their skin should either avoid close skin-to-skin contact, or use protection during sexual activity. If someone has been treated for genital warts and there are no warts present on the skin, they are considered not contagious at that time. However, genitals warts can be dormant and recur so careful monitoring is important. Since genital warts occur as a result of HPV, considering getting vaccinated against HPV may reduce the risk of contracting the wart virus.

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