Genital warts are highly contagious sexually transmitted disease caused by certain sub-types of human papillomavirus, also known as HPV. This disease is medically known under various names: condylomata acuminata, venereal warts, anal warts and anogenital warts. Genital warts are among the most commonly transmitted sexually diseases, and they affect the genital region. Genital warts affect equally men and women, and they can practically occur at any age. However, the infection is more common in younger population, between the ages of 17 and 33. It is estimated that each sexual contact with a person who has genital warts, bears a 60% risk of getting the infection.
Transmission of genital warts
Genital warts are normally transmitted during the sexual contact. The human papillomavirus spreads through the direct skin to skin contact, during oral, genital or anal sex with an infected partner. Genital warts can even affect the sexually inactive population, or children, by direct manual contact. Most of the patients develop the infection within three months of contact, but in some cases not for years. Most of the patients never experience any of the symptoms of genital warts, but they can still transmit the virus. Some strains of human papillomavirus are responsible for cervical cancer and most of the anal cancers, but genital warts are not associated with any serious disease.
During the sexual intercourse, the virus penetrates through the microscopic abrasions in the genital area and invades the healthy cells. The virus usually remains dormant for months or even for years. The virus normally clears away itself.
Signs and symptoms of genital warts
Genital warts usually appear as small, flesh-colored or gray bumps in the genital area. In females, genital warts can appear on the walls of the vagina, and in the area between the genitals and the anus. If the person gets the infection during the oral sexual contact with an infected person, genital warts will probably develop in the mouth. The bumps can affect the penis area in men, and even the area around or inside the anus. The symptoms of the infection are less obvious in men, but they are affected equally as women. Patients usually complain about itching and general discomfort in the genital area, and they may often experience bleeding during sexual intercourse.
Treatment for genital warts
There is no known cure for HPV infection, but many methods are available to treat visible genital warts and possibly reduce the infectivity. In most of the cases, genital warts disappear without treatment.