The connection between human papillomavirus (HPV) and genital warts is one of cause of effect. HPV is a virus that causes genital warts. It is sexually transmitted and may affect a person's genitals and anus. In fact, genital warts are among the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). An individual may have and spread HPV without knowing he has the virus.
HPV and genital warts are linked because HPV is the virus responsible for the development of genital warts. Interestingly, there are more than 100 different types of HPV, and some of them are not responsible for causing genital warts. Scientist have found that the HPVs that cause this sexually transmitted disease are limited to about 40.
Though HPV and genital warts are connected, there are two types of HPVs that are typically responsible for genital warts, and they are referred to as HPV-6 and HPV-11. A minority of genital warts cases are caused by about 38 other types of HPVs. The strains of HPV that cause genital warts are very contagious. The virus spreads when a person has unprotected sex with an individual who is infected, even if there are no obvious signs of infection at the time of sexual contact.
When a person has HPV and genital warts, he may not exhibit any symptoms. When symptoms are evident, however, they often include a flesh-colored, soft, raised area. Genital warts may also take on a cauliflower-like appearance, and some may appear as rough, darkened patches. Warts may appear individually or in clusters, which is usually when they resemble cauliflower. Some people with genital warts may also experience irritation or itching in the affected area as well as bleeding during sexual intercourse.
Cancer may be a concern for women with HPV and genital warts. This is due to the fact that HPV may not only cause genital warts but also raise a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer. Additionally, infection with some types of HPV may also increase a person’s risk of developing cancer of the vulva, anus, or penis.
Treatment for genital warts may include topical medications, freezing using liquid nitrogen, or surgery to cut away the warts from the healthy tissue. Sometimes doctors may also burn them off or use lasers to remove them. Unfortunately, genital warts may return, and doctors cannot cure or completely destroy the HPV that caused them.