Genital warts are small fleshy growths or bumps that can appear on the shaft and sometimes head of the penis or under the foreskin. They are caused by the human papillomavirus sexually transmitted infection (STI). The human papillomavirus (HPV) is not a single virus, but a family of more than 100 different strains of viruses. Different strains usually affect different parts of the body, including the hands or feet.
Although around 30 different types of HPV can affect the genital skin, most cases of infection with HPV cause no visible symptoms. Around 90% of all cases of genital warts are caused by two strains of the virus – type 6 and type 11.
The types of HPV that cause visible genital warts do not cause genital cancer. Staff at your local health center, many other clinics, health departments, and private health care providers can diagnose genital warts and help you get any treatment you may need or want.
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