What are Anogenital Warts?

Anogenital warts are a sexually transmitted disease and is the result of certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). The disease is highly contagious. In many cases, carriers of the HPV virus suffer no symptoms at all and the disease stays dormant. However, this still means that the virus can be passed on to other people very easily, who may not experience a dormant state. Anogenital warts are usually relatively pain free, but can look unsightly and result in a lack of body confidence.  

Although anogenital warts may be stigmatised due to its potential to look unappealing, the infection is actually one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases there is, coming second in many cases only after Chlamydia. With a relatively easy treatment available in many cases, a contraction of anogenital warts need not be as distressing as you may suppose.

The highly contagious characteristics of the virus means that it can be passed on through just skin to skin contact, and not only through penetrative intercourse like some other sexually transmitted infections. Using condoms, therefore, is not a 100% effective protection against anogenital warts. In fact, there is currently no fully effective protection against the virus except the obvious one refraining from sexual contact at all. If you think you have anogenital warts you may not wish to have sexual contact with anyone until the symptoms are cleared up anyway, as noticeable symptoms can be unsightly.

The difficulty with the passing on of the virus however is that it is not always visually obvious. You can be a carrier of the human Papilloma virus that causes anogenital warts without even knowing it, and the incubation period for the virus can be as long as a year. Therefore you could potentially be passing on the virus to anyone you have sexual contact with. As this cannot be 100% prevented with condoms, anogenital warts is much more common than many people may think. Due to several contributing factors such as the long treatment time as well as the aforementioned dormant state of the virus in many people, anogenital warts is the second most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK.

The Human Papilloma virus

The human papillomavirus has over 100 different known strains. Around 40 of these are known to cause anogenital warts, while others have been noted to cause some cancers. Although there are some strains that have symptoms, many more types of the Human Papilloma virus have no detrimental effects to human health.

Common cases of anogenital warts

Some of the most common cases of anogenital warts look like little lumps of skin around the infected area. The most commonly affected areas are the genital and anal areas, and often, the warts are not highly noticeable. However, in some severe cases the warts can become sore and inflamed and extremely unsightly. This can obviously lead to some body confidence issues. However, treatments for anogenital warts are relatively effective with several different creams as well as the method of Cryotherapy, which basically freezes the warts off. However, some treatments (dependent on the severity of the case and the individual person) can take up to three months to take complete effect.

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