Recurring Anogenital Warts

Like most sexually transmitted infections, anogenital warts may recur after a certain period of time when you may least expect this. This makes the infection very irritating and disheartening because even after treatment, the warts can reappear. But how does this happen?

Treatment will effectively get rid of the anogenital warts. However, it will not remove the virus that is in the surrounding skin. Therefore, the virus is still apparent and can replicate whenever it likes. Therefore, you may get a recurring incident following treatment. It is estimated that around 30-60% of warts will reappear after you have had treatment. The virus is still present on your skin and in your cells so your immune system will need to destroy it completely in order for the warts to completely go away and the virus has some novel mechanisms in order to avoid this for as long as possible.

The virus can insert itself into your DNA so that it cannot be found by your immune system. This makes your immune systems job a lot trickier and hence the reason why you might suffer from numerous outbreaks over the period of several months. The virus also lacks a capsid coat, which is something that medication can target so treatment for genital warts cannot actually get rid of all of the viruses entirely. However, the longer it has been since an outbreak, the less likely you are to have a recurrence and your body will naturally kill the virus after a period of time.

You might get a recurrence or even your first outbreak years after the virus first infected you because the virus can enter something called a latency period. During this time, the virus remains within your cells but is inactive so it does not replicate. Months or even years later, the virus may become active and start to replicate in your cells, causing disturbances in the skin structure and hence anogenital warts. Therefore it is very difficult to pinpoint exactly when you were infected by anogenital warts and if you are in a faithful relationship, it does not necessarily mean that your partner hasn’t been faithful as either of you could have contracted the infection years before the outbreak.

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