Genital warts are small lumps on the genitals which you can see or feel, but which are normally painless. They are caused by the genital wart virus (Human Papilloma Virus or HPV). They're different from the warts you can get on your hands and knees.
Signs and symptoms
Genital warts can be found on the vagina, vulva, cervix, anus or penis, and sometimes in the mouth or throat. Some warts might be very small and others might clump together.
Skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, including vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Genital warts can sometimes be passed on from fingers touching infected areas, then touching uninfected genitals.
What can happen
If left untreated genital warts can multiply and spread. It's best to treat them early.
Genital warts can be treated in several ways, including creams, freezing them off, laser treatment and surgical removal. There is now a vaccine available that protects women against some genital warts and cervical cancer. Talk to your doctor about immunisation.
- Get immunised. Free HPV immunisation is available through the year 8 school-based immunisation program.
- Avoid any contact with the infected area.
- Always use condoms or dams and water-based lubricant. But remember, they only protect the area of skin that they cover.
- Before you have sex, talk with your partner about the importance of safe sex.
- Be open with your partner and make sure you or they don't have any other sex partners.
- Limit your sex partners.
- Get regular STI tests.
For more information go to the HPV Vaccine website (external site)