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Genital Warts

Overview :

Genital warts are the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the general population. It is estimated that 1% of sexually active people between the ages of 18 and 45 have genital warts; however, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing indicates that as many as 40% of sexually active adults carry the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes genital warts.

Genital warts vary somewhat in appearance. They may be either flat or resemble raspberries or cauliflower in appearance. The warts begin as small red or pink growths and grow as large as four inches across, interfering with intercourse and childbirth. The warts grow in the moist tissues of the genital areas. In women, they occur on the external genitals and on the walls of the vagina and cervix; in men, they develop in the urethra and on the shaft of the penis. The warts then spread to the area behind the genitals surrounding the anus.

Risk factors for genital warts include:

  • multiple sexual partners
  • infection with another STD
  • pregnancy
  • anal intercourse
  • poor personal hygiene
  • heavy perspiration

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