Wednesday 20 June 2007
Genital warts (or condylomata acuminata, venereal warts, anal warts and anogenital warts) are symptoms of a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease caused by some types of human papillomavirus (HPV).
It is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact, usually during oral, genital, or anal sex with an infected partner. Warts are the most easily recognized symptom of genital HPV infection.
Although some types of HPV are known to cause cervical cancer and anal cancers, these are not the same types of HPV that cause genital warts.
Although 90% of those who contract HPV will not develop genital warts, those infected can still transmit the virus. Although estimates of incidence vary between studies, HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active people will get it at some point in their lives.
Genital HPV infections have an estimated prevalence in the US of 10–20% and clinical manifestations in 1% of the sexually active adult population.
US incidence of HPV infection has increased between 1975 and 2006.
About 80% of those infected are between the ages of 17–33.
Although treatments can remove the warts, they do not remove the HPV, so warts can recur after treatment (about 50–73% of the time. Warts can also spontaneously regress (with or without treatment).
Traditional theories postulated that the virus remained in the body for a lifetime.
However, studies using sensitive DNA techniques have shown that through immunological response the virus can either be cleared or suppressed to levels below what polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests can measure. One study testing genital skin for subclinical HPV using PCR found a prevalence of 10%.
HPV types 6 and 11 are most frequently the cause of genital warts.
The Gardasil vaccine includes coverage for these types. While types 6 and 11 are considered low risk for progression to cancers, it is also possible to be infected with different varieties of HPV, such as a low-risk HPV that causes warts and a high-risk HPV, either at the same or different times.
vulvar condyloma accuminata (by Washington Deceit)