What is Genital Warts
Genital warts are a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). They are small, flesh-colored or gray growths that appear in the genital and anal areas. Genital warts can vary in size and shape, ranging from tiny, flat bumps to larger, cauliflower-like clusters.
Causes of Genital Warts
Genital warts are primarily transmitted through sexual activity, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. The virus can be passed from one person to another through direct skin-to-skin contact, even if there are no visible warts or other symptoms.
Genital warts are caused by certain strains of HPV, primarily types 6 and 11. These strains are classified as low-risk HPV because they are less likely to lead to cancer. HPV is highly contagious, and the risk of transmission is increased when engaging in sexual activity with an infected person.
Not being vaccinated against HPV can increase the risk of developing genital warts. Vaccines, such as the HPV vaccine, provide protection against the most common HPV strains associated with genital warts and certain types of cancer.
A weakened immune system can make individuals more susceptible to HPV infections, including genital warts. Conditions such as HIV/AIDS or undergoing immunosuppressive treatments can compromise the immune system's ability to control the virus.
Engaging in sexual activity with multiple partners increases the risk of exposure to HPV-infected individuals, thereby increasing the chances of contracting genital warts.