5 things you need to know about genital warts

1. Warts are common

GENITAL warts are the clinical expression of infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV).  Of over 100 HPV types, 40 prefer the anogenital area. By the age of 50 years up, to 80% of women have been infected.1

The majority of infections remain undetected as infection is typically transient and subclinical – only approximately 1% of infections producing clinical lesions. 

2. Warts are ‘low risk’

HPV types can be divided into low risk and high risk types.

While high risk types have been associated with significant cellular abnormalities such as cervical cancer, low risk types are not. The low risk HPV types are responsible for genital warts and treatment is cosmetic. 

Therefore the presence of genital warts does not translate to an increase in risk of cervical cancer and does not indicate need for more frequent pap smears.