Genital warts: Tips for managing
You can reduce your risk of getting HPV and genital warts by doing the following:
Get an HPV vaccine. If you are between the ages of 9 and 26, you may be eligible for an HPV vaccine. There are two HPV vaccines. One of them is “quadrivalent,” meaning it can protect against four types of HPV. This vaccine is for males and females ages 9 to 26. It can prevent the types of HPV that cause most genital warts. To be fully vaccinated, you get three shots. For the vaccine to be most effective, you should get all three shots before your first sexual encounter. Both HPV vaccines can help protect women from most types of cervical cancer.
Use a condom during sex. A latex condom may help reduce the risk of getting genital warts. Condoms do not cover all the skin in the genital area. Therefore, they do not always prevent an infected person from spreading HPV.
Talk about your health with your sexual partners. Before having sexual activity with you partner for the first time, talk honestly about sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Ask if your partner has had (or has) any STIs, including HPV. Tell your partner if you have had (or have) any STIs.
Quit smoking. Research has found that smokers have a higher risk for getting genital warts than non-smokers.
Coping with genital warts
If you have (or had) genital warts, dermatologists recommend the following:
Do not use medicine meant for treating other types of warts. Other medicines are good for treating common warts and foot warts, but not genital warts. See a dermatologist for treatment of genital warts.
Tell your sex partners you have genital warts. They should see a doctor.
Use a condom during sex. A latex condom may help reduce the risk of spreading genital warts. Condoms do not cover all the skin in the genital area. This means that condoms do not always prevent an infected person from spreading HPV.
Women: Get Pap tests (smears). Women who have received treatment for genital warts should get Pap tests (smears) as recommended by their doctor. Pap tests are the best way to find early abnormal changes in the cervix. This can prevent death from cervical cancer. If you have an abnormal Pap test, you should follow up with your doctor.
Getting genital warts can be life-changing. Talking with others can help.
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
The American Academy of Dermatology gratefully acknowledges the support from PharmaDerm.