STIs – Genital Warts
How do you get it?
Skin-to-skin contact, including vaginal and anal sex.
Oral sex, but this is rare.
You can not get genital warts from kissing or sharing things like towels, cutlery, cups or toilet seats.
The genital warts virus can be passed on even when there are no visible warts.
Many people with the virus do not have symptoms but can still pass it on.
Use a condom every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex.
If the virus is in any in skin that’s not protected by a condom, it can still be passed on.
Also use a condom if you are using a sex toy with someone.
One or more painless growths or lumps around your vagina, penis or anus.
Itching or bleeding from your genitals or anus.
A change to your normal flow of pee that does not go away. Eg it’s begun to flow sideways.
A sexual partner who has genital warts, even if you do not have symptoms.
Genital warts are not cancer and do not cause cancer.
The HPV vaccine that’s offered to girls and boys aged 12 to 13 in England protects against cervical cancer and genital warts.
The HPV vaccine is also offered to men who have sex with men, some trans men and trans women, and men and women living with HIV.
A doctor will ask you about your symptoms and sexual partners.
Look at the bumps around your genitals and anus, maybe using a magnifying lens.
Possibly need to look inside your vagina, anus or urethra, depending on where the warts are.
GP surgery or GUM clinic can do the testing.
Cream or liquid: you can usually apply this to the warts yourself a few times a week for several weeks, but in some cases you may need to go to a sexual health clinic where a doctor or nurse will apply it. These treatments can cause pain, irritation or a burning sensation.
Surgery: a doctor or nurse may cut, burn or use a laser to remove the warts. This can cause pain, irritation or scarring.
Freezing: a doctor or nurse freezes the warts. Sometimes the treatment is repeated several times. This can cause pain.
It may take weeks or months for treatment to work and the warts may come back. In some people, the treatment does not work.
There’s no cure for genital warts, but it’s possible for your body to fight the virus over time.