All you must know about Genital Warts
By Olaide Osayemi
Genital warts are fleshy, flower- like growths on the genitals often caused by a highly contagious virus, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which is also known as CONDOLYMATA ACUMINATA or VENEREAL WARTS. It’s a symptomatic manifestation of a highly contagious STD, human papilloma virus, usually contacted through direct skin-to-skin contact, during oral, genital, or anal sex with an infected partner.
While some types of HPV cause cervical cancer and anal cancers, these are not the same types of HPV that causes genital warts.
According to WHO, there are over 600 million yearly cases of HPV infections worldwide. This should not surprise you, given the insatiable appetite for sex by humans.
The Penguin World Atlas of Human Sexual Behavior stated that over 240 million people engage in sexual activity per day. That is, for every hour of the day, over 20 million are engaging in one form of sexual activity or the other, which is basically why sexually transmitted diseases are killing humans in millions yearly.
Both males and females have equal chances of contacting the infection.
LOCATIONS OF GENITAL WARTS
In females, the warts are commonly found in;
The vagina or anus, the external surface of the vagina or anus and inside the cervix.
Those who practise oral sex with partners who are harbouring the infection are prone to developing the warts in their mouths and this is known as oral warts.
Genital warts are primarily caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are over 100 types of HPVs. Although they are so numerous, only about 35 have been found to have affinity for the genital region.
CATEGORIES OF HPV:
Low Risk: These are the ones that causes genital warts and low-grade cervical lesions. These are the ones least likely to progress to cancer.
High Risk: These HPV have a moderate risk for progressing to cancer.
Also among them are HPV-16 and HPV-18 which are notorious for progressing to cervical cancer. In fact, more than 70% of cervical, vaginal, and penile cancers are caused by them.
Majority of genital warts are caused by low-risk HPV types, which is actually a good thing because it means the risk of it progressing to a genital cancer is reduced. This also means that there is a good chance of eradicating the warts and HPV infection
PEOPLE WHO CAN EASILY CONTACT HPV ARE
Those who are sexually active. People who has multiple sexual partners. People who practise oral sex. Smokers. Children born by mothers who had the infection during birth. Young people. Since it is a disease commonly seen in sexually active young individuals.
Genital warts are very treatable. But their treatability is largely dependent on when they are diagnosed and how fast treatment is commenced.
Medical therapy: This treatment modality makes use of drugs, mostly topical medications. A cream or liquid is applied directly on the warts for a several days each week. This may be applied at home or in a clinic. Treatment may continue for several weeks until the warts are totally cleared off.
Surgical therapy: When the warts are too big and disfiguring they can be excised, or cut out. Here too, local anesthesia is used to numb the pain that may be felt.
Cryotherapy: This is a special method of treating warts where the warts are frozen, often with liquid nitrogen. The freezing process causes a blister to form around the wart. As the skin heals, the lesion slides off, allowing new skin to appear. Sometimes repeated treatments are needed.
PREVENTION OF GENITAL WARTS
Don’t wait until you have genital warts or cervical cancer or PID before you start worrying yourself to death seeking for help. Start now. Your health is the most precious thing you can ever have. Without good health you can never achieve anything worthwhile.
Reduce your sexual partner count.
Practice safe sex.
Go for regular screening: At least once everywhere 3 years, make out time to go for some key medical screenings.
Get treatment very early: If you already have the HPV infection, you can prevent it from progressing and resulting into complications such as cervical and vulva cancer by treating it early
Get vaccinated: There are vaccines that can protect you against some types of HPV which are implicated in the development of cervical cancer.