Genital warts are a sexually transmitted disease which is caused by infection due to human papillomavirus. Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of getting the disease, but certain factors increase your risk of genital warts.
People who have high risk sexual behaviour such as multiple sexual partners (each additional sexual partner increases your risk of being exposed to the infection), unprotected sex, being sexually active from a young age, and having sex with a person who has genital warts, are at risk of getting genital warts.
If your partner has genital warts it increases your risk of getting the disease even if you use protective measures such as condoms or diaphragms (many times the lesions may be present outside the area covered by a condom).
Young sexually active people (people in their 20s), especially those who have high risk sexual behaviour are at higher risk of getting the disease.
Having another sexually transmitted disease, history of sexually transmitted disease, or HIV increases the risk of genital warts.
Infants born vaginally to a mother who has genital warts can get infected with HPV. Transmission of infection from the mother to baby can cause a life-threatening condition called recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP). The papillomas or warts in the respiratory tract can dangerously block the child's airway. Delivery by caesarean section can prevent transmission of infection from a mother to her baby.
The risk of genital warts can be reduced by:
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