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GENITAL WARTS AND THE HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS (HPV)


PROLOGUE


“Pleasure is relative. We all want it, we all need it. But sometimes it comes with a price, either immediate or in the near future. When it does come and we certainly need to pay that price, I hope we can take the bull by the horn with our chest.

My story is short and will not be completed, But your opinion will be highly needed. If it were you, what would you have done”?
Will You stay for love? or would you rather leave for safety?
Will love be blind to you or would you aid its vision with both a microscope and a telescope?
Well, the choice is yours!


In my DM was a sex educator, she needed help. Someone was obviously in her DM confused too.
Probably her life might change any moment from now. She needed answers to make those decisions. She was happily engaged and could visualize her wedding. The fiancé in question was ready to tie the knot. But there was a problem. Health for love or love for health?!

Before they met, the fiancé was a chronic womanizer. Until He finally met her and decided to change his ways and give love a chance.
During the relationship, they notice an abnormal growth on the balls of the ‘husband to be’. The fiancé was told he had Genital warts from a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. He was treated and the growth disappeared although on the outside. They had sex but always with a
condom.

That was the end of the problem until a few months before their wedding when the growth reappeared. Confused, they went back to the hospital where they were told that the infection has no cure. That all they simply did was burn the wart for aesthetic purposes. That the virus is still very much within and if he should have any unprotected sex with the lady she can contract the infection.”
An Except from the Tales of The Medical Story Teller @ErasmusEfe



WHAT ARE GENITAL WARTS?

HPV


Warts are small lumps on the skin or mucous membrane caused by viruses. They can appear anywhere on and in the body. Those that appear in the genital region are called GENITAL WARTS. They are caused by the Human Papillomavirus also called HPV.

PREVALENCE OF GENITAL WARTS?

The Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI), it is a different virus from HIV and Herpes.

According to the CDC, about 43 million HPV infections were recorded in 2018, many among people in their late teens and early 20s. Greater than 50% of sexually active men and women will get a genital HPV infection at some point in their lives.

In Nigeria, the prevalence is high and is common among women in the South West. There are about 1.5 million cases reported annually.

WHAT STRAINS OF HPV CAN CAUSE GENITAL WARTS?

Not all strains of HPV cause genital warts. The low-risk strains, HPV 6 and 11 cause about 90% of genital warts and rarely progress to cancer. The high-risk strains can cause cervical, vulvar, vaginal, rectal, and penile cancer.

Some vaccines can protect against certain strains of HPV infection. Once a person is infected by HPV, it takes one to three months (or longer, depending on the person’s immunity) for warts to appear. Some people who are infected never get genital warts.


WHERE DOES IT OCCUR?

symptoms of genital warts

In women– genital warts can grow on the vulva, the walls of the vagina both in and out, the area between the external genitals and the anus, the anal canal, and the cervix.
In men– it can occur on the tip or shaft of the penis, around the glans penis (penis cap) forming a corona, the scrotum, or the anus.

Genital warts can also develop in a person who had oral sexual contact with an infected person in the mouth or throat.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF GENITAL WARTS

The signs and symptoms of genital warts include:

  • Small, fleshy-colored, brown or pink swellings in and around your genital area.
  • A cauliflower-like shape caused by several warts close together.
  • Itching or discomfort in your genital area.
  • Bleeding with intercourse which may occur in some cases.

Genital warts can be so small and flat as to be invisible. Rarely, however, genital warts can multiply into large clusters, in an immunosuppressed individual.

You should see a DOCTOR if you or your partner develops bumps or warts in the genital area. It is advisable to closely examine your partner’s genitals before sexual intercourse.


RISK FACTORS

Genital warts are often spread through sexual contact. Warts don’t have to be visible for you to spread the infection to your sexual partner. Sexually active people get infected with genital HPV at some point in their life.

Factors that can increase your risk of becoming infected include:

  1. Engaging in unprotected sex with multiple sexual partners.
  2. Skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. You can get infected with HPV without being sexually active – as HPV spreads easily through skin-to-skin contact. It is possible to be infected with HPV without having sex.
  3. Prolonged contact with infected skin, such as holding hands, may cause transmission of the virus.
  4. Having sex with a partner whose sexual history you know nothing about.
  5. Being sexually active at a young age.
  6. Having low immunity, such as from HIV or drugs from an organ transplant.
  7. Having other sexually transmitted disease.

COMPLICATIONS

HPV infection complications include:

Problems during pregnancy – Not so often, during pregnancy, warts may enlarge, making it difficult to urinate. Warts on the vaginal wall can also prevent the vaginal tissues from stretching during childbirth. Large warts on the vulva or in the vagina can bleed when stretched during delivery.

Also occasionally, a baby born to a mother with genital warts might come down with warts in the throat. The baby might need surgery to keep the airway from being blocked.

Urethral obstruction. Genital warts occasionally obstruct the urethral (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the exterior).

Cancer – Whereas the large majority of genital HPV infections resolve on their own, persistent infection can lead to cancer. Cervical cancer is closely related to genital HPV infection. If you have genital warts, it is pertinent to get annual check-ups to screen for cancer.

TREATMENT FOR GENITAL WARTS

genital wart treatment

Unfortunately, HPV infection has no cure. No treatment can kill the human papillomavirus that causes genital warts.

Treatment depends on the size and site of warts. Even when the warts are removed, some viruses persist in the skin, which is why warts often recur. Some of the medicines used to treat genital warts cannot be used during pregnancy, so it is important to tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

Small warts may be treated with medicines applied to the skin. In some cases, cryotherapy (applying liquid nitrogen to warts) will freeze the tissue and make warts disappear. Some larger warts require laser therapy or surgery.

PREVENTION

You can prevent genital warts through

  • Limiting your sexual partners
  • Being faithful to one sexual partner
  • Regular use of condoms, although condoms do not provide 100% guarantee from HPV infections
  • Practice abstinence
  • Getting HPV vaccine. This vaccine help prevent genital warts in addition to decreasing the risk of cervical and anal cancer.
    You can get the HPV vaccine at any GPC close to you.

Prognosis

Genital warts may disappear on their own or with treatment. However, recurrence is common. Certain HPV strains, which cause genital warts, can cause cervical cancer, but only a small percentage of the women who become infected will develop cancer. Cervical cancer develops gradually over decades. If you have genital warts, you may have also been infected with a cancer-causing strain of the virus. You should be sure to get Pap smears regularly.

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