Genital warts are sneaky. They can hide in your ass (or a woman’s vagina) and can be spread from one person to another even if they're not visible. There is no cure for HPV: once you catch it, you've got it. Sometimes your immune system will clear the virus on its own, like a flu or cold, but since there is no HPV test there is no way to be certain whether or not you've still got it, except for if you keep getting warts. You can have the warts removed by a doctor, but most of the time they will just go away on their own. However, the infection will persist. If you think you might have genital warts, go to a doctor and get examined right away.
are the symptoms?
Again, most people that have HPV don't know it. Only about 8% of people actually develop warts as a symptom of the infection. Some 60% of gay/bi men have HPV, and 90% of HIV-Positive men are estimated to have it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that there are 5.5 million new infections every year, and that 20 million people in the U.S. already have it.
However, gay/bi men who are sexually active, especially all of you hardcore bottoms out there, should get your asses examined at least once a year. Some queer docs will do anal pap smears, which is a scraping of cells. This is by no means standard, and not a lot of docs will know what to do, but if you are frequently the receptive partner in anal sex you should at least ask your doctor about it, or find someone who can give you more information.
There are three types of treatment for genital warts:
Absolutely do not use over-the-counter wart medication on your dick or ass. The skin in these areas is different than on your hands or feet, and medications can irritate or damage your more delicate areas. Genital warts should only be treated by a doctor or clinician!
No matter what treatment is used, there is a high recurrence rate. You should assume your warts will return, and go back to your doc or clinic as soon as you spot or feel one.
Another new treatment, for external warts only, is imiquimod (brand name Aldara), a topical cream approved by the FDA in 1997. It is available by prescription only, and since it is a cream it will destroy condoms. You apply it at home, three times a week for up to 16 weeks; it slowly causes warts to disappear. It also works on the immune system, bolstering it to help it attack the warts. It can't rid your body of the virus entirely, but by killing off much of the active virus, it may reduce transmission rates. Unfortunately, you can only use it externally, so if you want to have internal anal warts removed you'll have to go with the painful methods for the time being. Imiquimod's use by HIV positive people has not been tested.
can I prevent the spread of genital warts?
else should you know?
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