HPV Home > Genital Warts

Genital warts are one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. They are caused by the human papillomavirus and typically appear in the genital area within weeks or months after initial infection. Genital warts are soft, moist, or flesh-colored swellings that generally develop on the vulva, cervix, vagina, scrotum, penis, or anus. Treatment may include prescription medications and certain medical procedures.

What Are Genital Warts?

Genital warts, sometimes called condyloma acuminata or venereal warts, are a type of sexually transmitted disease (STD). They are caused by human papillomavirus, or HPV. While there are more than 100 different types of HPV, only a couple cause genital warts (see Causes of Genital Warts).
Genital warts are extremely common and increasing rapidly. They are now even more common than genital herpes, another sexually transmitted disease.

What Do They Look Like?

The warts are soft, moist, or flesh-colored and appear in the genital area within weeks or months after infection. They sometimes appear in clusters that resemble cauliflower-like bumps and can be raised or flat, small or large.
Genital warts can show up in women on the vulva and cervix, and inside and surrounding the vagina and anus. In men, they can appear on the scrotum or penis. There have also been cases where warts were found on the thigh and groin. They spread rapidly over moist areas.
(Click Genital Warts Symptoms for more information.)
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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