Dr. Jennifer Co, OB-GYN infectious Disease Consultant of FEU-Nicanor Reyes Memorial Foundation Medical Center and Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, talks about the risk, threats and protections from HPV
Wart’s happening?
How to deal with genital warts and avoid getting them in the first place

Picture this: you wake up one morning, go through your usual hygiene regimen, and in the course of
your routine surprisingly detect an unusual lumpy cluster in your private area. If it turns out to be genital
warts, then yours is a problem shared by about 32 million people diagnosed with the disease each year.

“Genital warts are more common than people think and a concern that goes beyond aesthetics
,” said
Dr. Jennifer Co, an Obstetrics-Infectious Disease Specialist at FEU-NRMF Medical Center. "Genital warts
are the most common viral sexually transmitted infection (STI) with its incidence increasing by 34%
among males and 18% among females in the last ten years (according to UK data). In the US, up to
one million new cases are reported annually and the average cost of treatment per year is 171 million
," elaborated by Dr. Co.

Also known as venereal warts, genital warts are caused by certain types of the human papillomavirus
(HPV). More than 40 types of HPV affect the genital areas of females and males. While some HPV types
may cause genital warts, other HPV types may cause cervical cancer as well as the less common but
serious cancers of the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, and head and neck (tongue, tonsils and throat).

HPV can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, oral sex, or even mere skin-to-skin contact of the
genital area (non-penetrative sex). According to US data, at least 50% of sexually active people will get
genital HPV in their lifetime, and majority of them would not even know they have it since there are no
symptoms. Most HPV infections will be cleared by the body's immune system but for those that persist,
certain HPV-related diseases may develop such as genital warts.

Warts usually appear one to six months after contact with an infected partner (even if the infected
partner has no signs and symptoms), starting out as tiny, soft, moist, pink or gray growths. They develop
rapidly and become rough, irregular bumps, which sometimes grow out from the skin on narrow stalks.
Warts often grow in clusters with their rough surfaces making them look like a small cauliflower.

“In men, warts manifest on the penis, especially under the foreskin in uncircumcised men, or in the
urethra. In women, they occur on the vulva, vaginal wall, cervix, and skin around the vaginal area.
Genital warts may also develop in the area around the anus and in the rectum, especially in people who
engage in anal sex,” said Dr. Co.

If left untreated, warts may either go away, remain unchanged, or increase in size and number. In some

cases, however, warts can be difficult to treat because of episodes of recurrence.

Warts are highly transmissible - more than 75% of people coming into contact with genital warts
develop the disease. Condom use does not guarantee total protection as condoms do not cover all
areas that may be infected by HPV during sex. Mutual monogamy, on the other hand, effectively
reduces the risk of infection. However, even people with only one lifetime partner can still get HPV if
their partner has had previous sexual relations.

Here are some tips on how to manage, or better yet, prevent the disease from occurring in the first

Abstinence. Foregoing sexual activity is one of the best ways to prevent genital warts. This involves
abstaining not only from penetrative sex, but from oral, genital-to-genital, and hand-to-genital contacts
or non-penetrative sexual acts as well.

See a doctor. Once you suspect having genital warts, immediately seek medical advice. It is best to
consult your doctor for them to rule out any possible serious health problem, and for the doctor to
advise you on treating and managing the disease. You should also have your partner examined for HPV-
related diseases and treated accordingly.

Improve immunity.
A healthy immune system often clears HPV and stops it from causing symptoms or
health problems. One way to help boost immunity against HPV is through vaccination. A quadrivalent
HPV vaccine, an HPV vaccine for both males and females, helps protect against genital warts, cervical
cancer, vaginal cancer, and vulvar cancer. It can be availed of only upon the prescription of a doctor. It
does not treat existing genital warts, cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers. It is delivered in 3 separate
intramuscular injections over six months. Women should avoid pregnancy during the course of the

To know more about genital warts and HPV prevention, consult your doctor and visit www.helpfighthpv.com.
Slick Rick, Tony Toni and Sam YG of Magic 89.9 delighted the audience with their peculiar conversations at the MSDs “Look Who’s Talking? The Genital Dialogues


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