Ten Stirring Facts About Genital Warts

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1. Genital warts are caused by human papilloma virus (HPV).
• It belongs to the group of viruses with more than 200 types and 40 HPV strains cause sexually transmitted infection.
• Other HPV can cause common warts that are not sexually transmitted.
• Strains of types 6 and 11 which is also called genital HPV causes genital warts.

2. Genital warts are symptoms of HPV infection.
• The most common venereal disease
• It is a highly transmissible viral infection acquired through penetrative and non-penetrative sexual (oral sex contact).
• Warts may grow in the mouth or throat

3. Genital warts are not cancer.
• The virus Condylomata acuminata is a low-risk HPV strain causes the wart eruption.
• It is not the same type that causes cancer, those are high-risk HPVs
• Respiratory papillomatosis (laryngeal or glottal) is a condition associated with this type of virus. In severe cases, it is fatal as the wart growth can potentially interfere with breathing due to blockage of the airway.

4. Genital warts will not cause transmission of the virus to the baby during delivery.
• Few studies were conducted regarding perinatal transmission of HPV but haven’t proven otherwise.
• Caesarean section delivery is not really recommended unless the wart is quite large that obstruct the vaginal canal or the outlet for delivery.

5. Genital warts can be diagnosed through visual inspection of the lesion.
• These are soft growth flesh-colored skin bumps.
• As the term implies, they are found on genitals (urethra, vulva, vagina, cervix, penis and anus).
• They often appear in clusters and the characteristics resemble a cauliflower.
• They can be itchy and may bleed from scratching.

6. Pre-exposure vaccination is recommended for preventive measure.
• Entitles a person for protection against HPV that causes 90% of genital warts
• It won’t work with existing infection as it is not for therapeutic purposes.
• It comes in dosages which need to be completed to be effective.

7. Genital warts are usually asymptomatic.
• Most may not know they have it which results in a greater risk in passing the infection to others.
• This may be attributed to why a person is unlikely to seek medical services for diagnostics and treatment.

8. Genital warts are treated by ablative modalities.
• It is treatment for the warts but not for the virus itself as HPV has no cure.
• Some of the methods used warts removals are cauterization (burning), simple excision, cryosurgery (Freezing) or laser.
• Scarring and pigmentation from the site as a result of the treatment
• But this won’t mean that the infection is no longer contagious, the person may still infect others.
• It takes about 3 months for genital warts to respond to therapy which requires strict compliance.
• Recurrence is common and has the possibility to undergo latency period.
• Topical ointment to apply over warts is also available.

9. Genital warts are effectively prevented by sexual abstinence.
• Practicing safe sex and use of mechanical barriers are measures for prevention of any form of sexually transmitted infections but the best and surest way is abstaining from any sexual activity.
• However, condom use is not for full protection from genital warts, though it can lower the chance of acquiring the infection.
• Warts may extend to other areas of the genitals which condom cannot cover all.

10. Genital warts may cause psychological distress.
• Feeling of uncertainty and uneasiness from consistent worrying about the disease may bring a certain level of anxiety in most of the patients.
• Furthermore, the quality of life is greatly affected (especially sex and love lives) due to the negative psychological impact.
• This can be addressed by underlining to the patient about the treatment and management that can somehow convey reassurance.

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