What are genital warts?
Genital warts are one of the common STIs (sexually transmitted infections) that can present as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area. Genital warts can be small or large lesions, raised or flat or shaped like cauliflower.
What is the cause of genital warts?
A virus called HPV, human papilloma virus, causes genital warts. Most of the people infected with HPV have no symptoms whatsoever.
How do people contract genital warts?
HPV is transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact. You can get HPV by having unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex with someone that carries the virus.
GENITAL WARTS CAN BE A SILENT A INFECTION!!
You or your sex partner may never be aware of being infected with HPV or have no known history of genital warts but can still be a carrier of the virus. Therefore, your sex partner can transmit the infection to you without their knowledge.
What is the big deal about HPV if infection is asymptomatic and silent?
There are over 150 types of HPV viruses. Some types are the cause of common or genital warts, while other types of HPV cause genital or oral cancers. Therefore, it is extremely important to prevent, diagnose and treat HPV infections as soon as possible to eliminate the risk of infection and cancers caused by HPV.
How common are HPV infections?
HPV is the most common STI in the U.S. HPV is so common that nearly all men and women who are sexually-active will be infected at some point in their life according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Currently 80 million people – about one in four – are infected with HPV in the U.S.
Wow!!! 80 million people infected with HPV in the U.S.?
Yes!! But the good news is:
- Only certain types of HPV out of over 150 types are associated with genital warts or cancers.
- Most of the time the body gets rid of the infection by itself over two years
- We have screening tests to detect high risk types of HPV
- We can treat genital warts if there are visible genital bumps.
- We have vaccinations to increase immunity against HPV infection
- People at high risk for HPV can be educated on how to reduce their risk of infection
How can a diagnosis of genital warts be confirmed if I find a genital lesion?
In general, it is diagnosed clinically, which means that Dr. Shafa knows how the lesion will appear on the body most of the time. If the lesions have typical features of genital warts then Dr. Shafa might decide to just treat the lesion as warts and wait to see if the treatment is successful. If the diagnosis is uncertain or there is no response to the conventional warts therapy then Dr. Shafa might perform a biopsy of the lesion to confirm the diagnosis.
Unlike many other STIs there is no blood test to diagnose genital warts.
What is my risk for other STIs if I’m infected with genital warts?
Dr. Shafa recommends that any patient with one STI be tested for the other common STIs as well. This provides patient and doctor peace of mind.
We can offer complete STI/STD panel testing!!
You can be tested right here in our office for any symptom or concern you may be experiencing to ensure proper treatment for you and your partner. Testing can be as simple as clinical evaluation by Dr. Shafa, urine/blood analysis, culture, and biopsy.
Certain types of STIs can be treated immediately!
For certain STIs we can treat you in the office. A single injection or a single pill by mouth can take care of the infection completely.
For certain STIs we may also offer Expedited Partner Therapy. For this, we may provide prescriptions or medications for you to take home to your partner without Dr. Shafa first examining him or her.