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Genital Warts (Human Papilloma Virus, HPV)


It is a virus called the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).


  • Some types of the virus are associated with cervical cancer in women, so you should follow up with your doctor for a smear test


  • Direct skin-to-skin contact
  • Vaginal, anal or oral sex (protected and unprotected)


  • The virus can be in your system for 3 weeks to 8 months (or longer) before you show symptoms
  • Warts usually appear as single or more painless, fleshy growths or lumps in the genital area. They come in different shapes and sizes
  • You may not have visible warts, but can still pass the virus on to your sexual partner(s)


  • There are a few treatments available, such as freezing the warts and prescribed creams
  • The type of treatment will depend on the size, location and number of warts (The virus will stay in your system, so the warts may come back)


  • Don’t have intimate sexual contact. Using a condom is the best protection against genital warts but it not 100% effective

(Source: Health Service Executive (HSE), 2007)

HPSC factsheet about Genital Warts