Genital wart (also called as condyloma acuminata or venereal warts) is a type of sexually transmitted infection (STIs). The term STIs means that the disease spreads from one person to other during vaginal, anal, or oral sexual contact. It is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections and is probably a more common STI as compared to genital herpes (another common sexually transmitted disease). Studies suggest that about 50% of all sexually active people will become infected with the virus at some point during their lives.
Genital warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 70 different types of HPV, but only certain strains cause genital warts. The virus can affect both men and women. After infection with the virus, your body may be able to successfully fight off the virus on its own, and if doesn't, it may increase the risk of cervical cancer in women.
Everyone who is infected with HPV does not have symptoms or genital warts. Only some people after the infection develop genital warts. So many people who have the infection may not know they are infected with HPV virus, but they can still transmit the infection to others.
The warts appear soft, moist, or flesh coloured and can be raised, flat, small or large. They can develop in the genital area within weeks after the infection or even after months. If they are formed in clusters, the warts may resemble cauliflower-like bumps. The common sites where genital warts appear are vulva, vagina, anus and cervix in women and scrotum or penis in men. They can develop on the thigh and groin as well and spread rapidly over moist areas. Treatment may clear off the warts but they can develop again.
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