How can genital warts be prevented?

 The risk for acquiring genital warts increases in proportion to the number of sexual contacts with an infected person, whether this is the same person or different people. You can decrease your risk by limiting your number of sexual contacts and by using condoms.
If your partner has noticed a wart or genital lesion, he or she should see a doctor. If a sexually transmitted disease is then identified, you should be treated as well.

If you start a new relationship and either you or your partner have had previous sex partners, use condoms without exception for the first six months. Then you should both be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. This should include blood tests for Aids and syphilis, and a Pap smear for the female partner.

Women can acquire several types of the HPV virus. When infected with more than one type, the risk of cervical cancer increases. Pap smears are extremely important for all sexually active women.

(Reviewed by Professor Lynette Denny, Gynaecology Oncology Unit, Department Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of Cape Town/Groote Schuur Hospital, August 2008)


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