Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can cause genital warts, but unfortunately, it cannot be cured in all cases. Although the warts can be treated, some people may experience a chronic, lifelong infection. The duration of genital warts can vary from person to person, with some cases disappearing within a few months and others lasting up to two years. The good news is that Gardasil 9, the HPV vaccine used in the United States today, as well as the original Gardasil vaccine, protect against HPV 6 and 11, which cause 90 percent of genital warts.
This can help to prevent the spread of the virus and reduce the risk of developing genital warts. Genital warts can appear from a few weeks to a year or more after exposure to the virus; it's usually not possible to know exactly when or how you were infected. There are several treatments available for removing genital warts. These include creams that can be applied at home and two imiquimods that activate the body's immune system to attack the wart virus.
A physical exam by a doctor is usually enough to indicate that you have genital warts. The various treatments to remove genital warts can cause pain and irritation and can be expensive, depending on the type of treatment you use and the type of health insurance coverage you have. Genital warts can also cause physical discomfort such as burning and itching or even bleeding in an intimate situation. If genital warts come back after treatment, you can talk to your nurse or doctor about treatment options for removing them again.
Having genital warts caused by strains of HPV that don't cause cancer doesn't mean you don't also have HPV, which can cause cancer. Couples should be seen by a healthcare provider who can detect genital warts and test for other STDs. Genital warts may go away on their own but sometimes they stay, enlarge or multiply. If you need help evaluating and removing your genital warts or if you need advice about the HPV vaccine, DoctorsInItaly can help you find a gynecologist, urologist or dermatologist who speaks English and can help you.