Genital warts are infections of the skin around the genital and anal area and the vagina, cervix and rectum. They’re caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), of which there are 100 different types. Most genital warts are caused by two strains of the virus – types 6 and 11. HPV is usually passed from one person to another through unprotected vaginal sex, anal sex or oral sex as well as close genital contact.
Most people with HPV will not develop genital warts and the virus will go away on its own.
If they do appear, it’s normally two weeks to several months after you come into contact with the virus. They will be small, fleshy growths, bumps or skin changes in or on the genital or anal area.
Warts can be treated by applying special ointments or paints, by freezing or surgical removal under local anaesthetic. These treatments may be uncomfortable, but they are not usually painful.