What are genital warts and how do I know if I have them?

Genital warts are caused by an STI called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).  HPV is a viral STI that is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity. HPV can cause genital warts or can lead to cancer (if you have a high-risk strain) in the genital, anal, or throat area. There is a vaccine for HPV that protects against the viral strains that most commonly lead to genital warts and cervical cancers, as well as other cancers.

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if you have genital warts, because they can be mistaken for other things (like a herpes sore or a skin tag). Genital warts look like skin-colored or whitish bumps that show up on the vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, scrotum, or anus. They can sometimes resemble little pieces of cauliflower if they're clustered together. It's possible to have just one wart or a bunch of them, and they can be big or small. They might be itchy, but most of the time they don’t hurt.

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