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Genital Warts (HPV)

Genital warts are caused by some types of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

How is it passed on?

  • Direct skin-to-skin contact – including vaginal, anal or oral sex

HPV can be passed on even when there are no visible warts or symptoms.


  • Small lumps (warts) anywhere on the genitals (internally and/or externally), and/or in throat or mouth.

The lumps may be itchy but are not usually painful. They may take months to appear or, if internal, may not be easily visible.

How is it tested?

  • Physical examination for visible warts on the skin around the genitals and anus.

How is it treated?

  • Warts may disappear within a couple of years without any treatment.
  • Visible warts can be treated with a special cream (available from your doctor).
  • Some warts may be removed by your doctor using freezing or burning treatment/s.

Although treatment can remove the physical signs of the virus, it may take longer before the virus is completely removed from the skin cells and the warts may come back.

How can I prevent getting it?

  • The HPV vaccination (Gardasil) can protect against two types of HPV that commonly cause genital warts and another two that can cause cervical cancer.
  • Use a condom and/or dam during vaginal, anal or oral sex (condoms/dams will reduce risk although they only protect the area being covered).

Genital Warts