ZocdocAnswersCan you have genital warts and not know it?

Question

Can you have genital warts and not know it?

I heard that genital warts is really bad for girls so I don't want to give it to them. Could I have them even if I don't know it or see any? Could they still spread?

Answer

Genital warts, as you probably have read, are a sexually transmitted infection that is caused by a virus known as the human papilloma virus. The virus is very easily spread from person to person by sexual contact. Typically, the virus causes warty growths that are fleshy and painless on the genitals. The virus is shed from these warts, and so coming into contact with them is the primary way that the infection is spread. However, once the body fights off the warts, the virus still does stay in your system, so it is sometimes possible to spread the virus even when you don't have any visible warts. In addition to causing warts, infection with the human papilloma virus is the major risk factor for the development of cervical cancer in women, which is why it is a major health concern. The best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to always practice safe sex with every partner, and to always use condoms with every sexual encounter. If you think you might have genital warts, or if you have any other questions about how to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections, you should make an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss these issues.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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