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Genital warts are bumps on the skin that are soft to the touch and flesh colored. They may have a cauliflower-like appearance and they often appear in clusters. They can appear on the vulva, anus, cervix, urethra, or penis. Frequently, they occur in more than one location at a time. While not painful, genital warts may itch.
Genital warts are caused by the HPV virus.The strains of HPV that cause warts are different from the strains that cause cancer.
Genital warts must be diagnosed by a doctor and can be treated with topical medications. They can be frozen or burned off. They can be removed surgically or with lasers. While treatments are effective in removing warts, they can still come back.
Genital warts are spread via skin to skin contact. It is important to be vigilant about condom use during intercourse and employ dental dams during oral sex.
The HPV vaccine offers protection against the strains of HPV that account for 90% of genital wart infections.