Unfortunately, the answer is that condoms don't always prevent the spread of genital warts. Something interesting but unfortunate that you should also know about genital warts is that they don't always appear immediately. Months, and even years, can pass between the sexual contact that infected you with the type of HPV that causes genital warts, and the actual appearance of warts. Genital warts can be tiny and hardly noticeable, or huge. Genital warts are most often spread by unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse, and using condoms is certainly a step that offers additional protection not just from HPV, but from many other kinds of horrible sexually transmitted diseases as well.
But because genital warts are often present on parts not covered by condoms, it is also possible to still get genital warts if your partner has them, even if you do use condoms. That's awkward, isn't it? This possibility sure make the case for getting regular Pap Smears and other STD testing.
Some forms of HPV (not the one causing genital warts) have a link with cervical cancer, so this is especially important if you are a woman (as most of our readers are!). If you do get genital warts, don't immediately assume they came from your most recent partner or that your partner has been unfaithful. They can, as we mentioned, appear even years after the infection occurred. In some rare and unfortunate cases, even your mouth and throat can be affected after oral sex with someone who had genital warts. Keep your eyes open, we say!