Pharmacy Clinical Pearl of the Day: Genital Warts

Vaccines can help protect against certain strains of HPV, the virus that causes genital warts.

Clinical Pearl of the Day: Genital Warts

Genital warts are one of the most common types of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Insight:

  • Nearly all sexually active people will become infected with at least 1 type of human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes genital warts.
  • Genital warts affect the moist tissues of the genital area. They can look like small, flesh-colored bumps or have a cauliflower-like appearance. In many cases, the warts are too small to be visible.
  • Some strains of genital HPV can cause genital warts, whereas others can cause cancer. Vaccines can help protect against certain strains of genital HPV.
  • Symptoms include flesh-colored, brown and pink swellings, itching, discomfort, and bleeding with intercourse.
  • Risk factors include having unprotected sex, having a partner with STIs, becoming sexually active at a young age, and having a compromised immune system for HIV drugs.
  • Diagnosis includes pelvic exam, pap test, and HPV test.
  • Treatment options include imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara), podophyllin (Condylox), trichloroacetic acid, and sinecatechins (Veregen). Other alternatives include surgery, electrocautery, and laser treatment.

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