Genital warts are a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The warts are soft, moist, pink or flesh-colored bumps. You can have one or many of these bumps. In women, the warts usually occur in or around the vagina, on the cervix or around the anus. In men, genital warts are less common but might occur on the tip of the penis.
You can get genital warts during oral, vaginal or anal sex with an infected partner. Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading HPV.
The warts might disappear on their own. If not, your health care provider can treat or remove them. The virus stays in your body even after treatment, so warts can come back.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
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|Date last updated: 19 August 2008
Topic last reviewed: 07 August 2008