What are genital warts?
These usually appear as soft, moist, pink or red swellings. They can be raised or flat, single or multiple, small or large. Some cluster together forming a cauliflower-like shape. They can appear on the vulva, in or around the vagina or anus, on the cervix, and on the penis, scrotum, groin, or thigh. Warts can appear within several weeks after sexual contact with an infected person, or they can take months to appear.
Genital warts are diagnosed by inspection. Visible genital warts can be removed, but no treatment is better than another, and no single treatment is ideal for all cases.
How Do People Get Genital HPV Infections?
The types of HPV that infect the genital area are spread primarily through sexual contact. Most HPV infections have no signs or symptoms; therefore, most infected persons are completely unaware they are infected, yet they can transmit the virus to a sex partner. Rarely, pregnant women can pass HPV to their baby during vaginal delivery. A newborn that is exposed to HPV during delivery can develop warts in the larynx (voice box).
What are the signs and symptoms of genital HPV infection?
Most people who have a genital HPV infection do not know they are infected. The virus lives in the skin or mucus membranes and usually causes no symptoms. Other people get visible genital warts.