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HealthInfo Canterbury

Genital warts

Genital warts are caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). There are many different types of HPV and most sexually active people will be infected in their lifetime.

HPV can cause visible warts around the genital area or anus (bottom). It is passed on by skin-to-skin contact. Condoms offer some protection, but can't protect other areas where your skin comes into contact.

There are treatments that can make the warts go away when they flare up, but no treatments will get rid of the infection. The HPV virus will still be in your skin, so warts can come back.

The HPV vaccine can protect you against some types of the HPV virus that cause warts. The injection is free to young women and young men in New Zealand from the ages of 9 to 26. The vaccination works best to protect you from HPV if you have it before you start having any form of sexual contact.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Updated December 2016.

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Page reference: 53224

Review key: HIGEW-53224