If you have been exposed to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), it can take anywhere from six months to a year for genital warts to appear. These warts can manifest as small fleshy growths, bumps, or skin changes in the genital, anal, or throat area. In some cases, they may be inside the vagina or anus and not visible right away. After a person has been infected with HPV, it can take one to three months (or longer in some cases) for warts to appear.
It is important to note that some people who have been infected never get warts. It usually takes a few weeks or several months from the day of infection until visible lesions appear (4 weeks to 8 months). Symptoms of genital warts caused by HPV in men include small bumps or groups of bumps on the tip or shaft of the penis, scrotum, or anus. In women, these warts can appear on the vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, scrotum, or anus.
The HPV vaccine Gardasil is 90% effective in protecting against cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers in women and anal cancer in women and men, as well as in protecting against genital warts. The other two strains covered by the vaccine, HPV-6 and HPV-11, account for approximately 90% of genital warts. Genital warts can also develop in the mouth or throat of a person who has had oral sex with an infected person. The best way to prevent HPV infection and genital warts is to abstain from sex or limit sexual contact to an uninfected person.
If you are sexually active, couples should be seen by a healthcare provider who can detect genital warts and test for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you have warts or red bumps on or around your genitals, if your partner has HPV or another STD, or your partner has genital warts, see your doctor or nurse or contact your local Planned Parenthood health center. It can take several weeks, months, or even years after having sexual contact with someone who has genital warts for them to appear. Gardasil protects against infection by four strains of the HPV virus and offers moderate protection against genital warts.