Dormant Anogenital Warts

The term dormant can be used to describe the virus that causes anogenital warts. In this context it means that the virus is alive but it isn’t necessary active and by active we mean replicating. Therefore, the infection caused by the human Papilloma virus can also be described as dormant.

The human Papilloma virus causes genital warts and resides on the infected skins surface and in the mucosal layer just underneath. It is not always active and it can remain dormant for a long period of time because it can hide away from the immune system. The virus inserts itself into your DNA so that it is not as obvious to the immune system and there it can stay until it wishes to replicate. The virus can remain dormant for a short period of time or for a very long time. Hence why some people have an outbreak of genital warts a few months after infection and others do not experience an outbreak until years after they have been infected.

You may never experience symptoms from the virus as it needs to replicate in order to cause anogenital warts. The replication of the HPV virus leads to an increase in the number of virus particles so they take up more space inside the cell and eventually cause a distortion to the skin, which is the wart like lumps that appear with this infection.

Can anything trigger an outbreak?

So far, nothing has been found that triggers an outbreak once you have the infection but there are a number of co factors that can increase the risk of actually getting the infection. If you have a suppressed immune system, you are more likely to get the infection because your immune system is not strong enough to fight off the virus and the result is an outbreak of anogenital warts. It may also be harder to get rid of the infection and you are more likely to have recurring outbreaks if you have a suppressed immune system. Also, pregnancy and folate deficiency can increase the risk of infection as well as ultraviolet light and the use of tobacco. If you are pregnant, you are more likely to have a greater number of warts and they are generally larger in size.

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