Are Anogenital Warts a Sexually Transmitted Infection?

Anogenital warts occur in the genital region and they are in fact a sexually transmitted infection. They are the second most common STI and a number of sexually active individuals get the infection at some point in their lifetime.

Warts that occur on other parts of the body are not classed as anogenital warts and they are not passed on via sexual contact. There is a high correlation between the number of sexually active partners you have and the increase in cases of genital warts that gives us evidence to believe it is a sexually transmitted infection. The virus gets passed on through skin to skin contact during sexual contact and it is believed that it is passed through the skin via micro abrasions in the skin that occur during sexual contact. The virus cannot live outside of a host so you have to be close enough to an infected person in order to become infected and this is usually when you are being intimate.

You are most contagious when you have an outbreak of anogenital warts and they can be passed on by both vaginal and anal intercourse. However, you do not necessarily need to have penetrative sex in order to pass the virus on. The virus is not present in the body fluids but on the surface of the skin so any contact with the infected area can lead to HPV being passed on and even the sharing of sex toys can pass on the infection.

How can I prevent the STI being passed on?

Anogenital warts is one of the easiest sexually transmitted infections to be passed on from person to person because you are not fully protected by a condom. The only way to completely stop the transmission is to abstain from sex. However, this is not a favourable option for many people infected with anogenital warts so you should refrain from having sex when you have an outbreak of the warts.  You should also have regular checkups and receive treatment for your infection. Also, always wear a condom because it can reduce the risk of passing on anogenital warts and it can also protect you from other sexually transmitted infections. Do not share any sex toys and make sure you talk to your partner about both of your sexual histories.

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