Sexually Transmitted Infections.
What is it?
Genital warts are caused by a virus. They are the most common STI. The highest rate of infection is among women aged 20-24 and men aged 25-34. You can get it through oral, vaginal or anal sex or through close skin to skin contact with some one who has the virus.
What are the symptoms?
Growths or warts in the genital area around the back passage. They may look like pinkish/white small lumps or larger cauliflower shaped lumps.
- They usually have no symptoms but they may itch.
- They can take from 3 months to a year or more to appear after the infection with the wart virus
- Warts are not always visible, especially if they occur inside the vagina or in the anus.
What is it caused by?
A Virus called Human Papilloma virus
How is it diagnosed?
By seeing the warts or by taking a blood test. This can be done by your GP or at a Sexual Health clinic. It would also be wise at this time to be tested for other STI’s.
How is it treated?
Warts can be treated by applying special ointments or paints, by freezing or by surgical removal under local anaesthetic. If you have warts you should go to your GP or a Sexual Health clinic.
What can happen if it’s not treated?
Warts may disappear if left untreated but they may return. Some types of wart virus may be linked to cancer, however, the type of wart virus which causes visible warts is only rarely associated with cervical cancer.
The Scottish Government has introduced a vaccination against the virus for girls age 12 at school.
You cannot tell by looking at someone if they have a sexually transmitted
infection, so if you are having sex (oral, anal or vaginal) the only way
to make sure you are not putting yourself at risk is to practise safer
- Always using condoms or femidoms (female condom inserted within the vagina) for vaginal sex.
- Always using condoms with water based lube for anal sex. Do not use condoms with spermicide if you are having anal sex.
- Always using flavoured condoms or dental dams (a latex shield that covers the mouth) when having oral sex.
- Trying non-penetrative sex like massage or mutual masturbation.
Condoms / Femidoms also protect you from other STIs including HIV. Always check the packaging for the British Standard kitemark or European product mark as well as the date of expiry.
Free condoms are available throughout Dumfries & Galloway. See the Clinic List.
Testing and treatment is available from:
- General Practitioners
- Sexual Health D&G, Nithbank, Dumfries.
Daily drop-in Mon-Fri 9.00-10.30am
- Stranraer Community Hospital
Drop In Wednesdays 12.30 -1.30pm