Genital warts are small lumps that usually grow in and around the genitals. They can be a range of shapes and sizes and can resemble a flat or lumpy wart, small or large, one or many, or may be so small that they are not visible by the naked eye.
HPV is a very common sexually transmitted virus. Most people are infected with HPV at some time in their life and have no symptoms. There are many types of HPV. Some high-risk types of HPV (types 16 and 18) may cause abnormal cell changes of the cervix (which can lead to cervical cancer years later), the anus, vulva, or throat in women. In men, these types can cause these changes in the penis, anus, or throat.Low-risk types of HPV infect the genital area and can cause warts (HPV type 6 and 11).
Genital HPV is usually acquired by direct skin-on-skin contact with someone who has HPV during intimate sexual contact or by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex. In rare cases, the virus can be passed on to a baby when a woman with HPV gives birth.
If you have the virus, but have no symptoms, you can still spread the virus through skin contact.The HPV vaccine Gardasil protects against the most common types of HPV that cause genital warts and cervical cancer. Refer to the Prevention tab for more information.