What are the symptoms of HPV?
Most HPV infections don’t cause any symptoms and go away without treatment.
Genital warts usually appear as small bumps or groups of bumps in the genital area. They can be large or small, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. They can appear anywhere in the genital area.
How does HPV spread?
You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.
How is HPV diagnosed?
Genital warts are diagnosed by a health care provider by the way they look. A pap test helps find changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
Our Sexual Health Clinics offer free, confidential testing and counselling services.
How is HPV treated?
Genital warts can be treated with medication that is applied to them. Many external warts will improve or disappear after being treated with medication. Other warts could need more treatment to remove them such as laser, burning or freezing.
Changes in the cells of the cervix and internal warts might need laser treatment. Even after treatment, there could still be some virus left, which can cause warts or abnormal Pap test results in the future.
How can HPV be prevented?
- Get vaccinated. A vaccine is available that prevents the most common types of HPV infection.
- Get screened for cervical cancer (Pap test). Screening can identify changes in the cells of the cervix caused by HPV.
- If you are sexually active, use a condom every time you have sex. Limit the number of sexual partners you have. Find out more about safer sex practices.