Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted viral infection/disease (STD) affecting humans in their late teens or early twenties. More than 100 different varieties of HPV have been studied so far, some are responsible for mucous membranes or skin outgrowths (warts) and some can even cause skin cancer (cervical or oropharyngeal cancer). The warts can appear on the genitals, hands, heels of the feet, face, beard area or legs. Risk factors of HPV include number of sex partners, adult age, compromised immunity due to immune suppressing drugs or AIDS (Autoimmune deficiency syndrome), damaged skin having cuts or tears and contact with public showers and swimming pools. Warts are contagious and can easily spread from direct skin to skin contact. The virus gains entry into the body through a minor cut/ tears on the skin surface or sexually transmitted through sexual intercourse or oral sex.

There is no blood test for HPV; however an expert can diagnose HPV infection by examining the lesions. Genital warts can be tested by three methods including vinegar test (lesions turn white after coming in contact with acetic acid), pap test (cells taken from cervix/vagina for laboratory testing and reports) and DNA test (for DNA recognition of HPV varieties).

The best protection is getting vaccinated against HPV which is safe, reliable and effective.  Warts, sometimes, disappear without any treatment; however certain topical medication can provide relief against stubborn lesions including salicylic acid, imiquimod, podofilox and trichloroacetic acid. In most cases, only medication is not successful in eliminating all the lesions and further advanced treatment is necessary. At Rao dermatology, we offer cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen), electrocautery (burning the lesion with the application of electric current), surgical removal and laser therapy removal.

Book an appointment with us now if stubborn warts are clinging and irritating you…

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