HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)
Warts are a manifestation of infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are >100 of these viruses and of about 40 strains affect the genital tract. About 90% of genital warts are caused by infection with HPV types 6 and 11. These types are not associated with a significant risk of cancer. Types 16 and 18 are associated with a high risk of cancers and are found in about 70% of cervical cancers.
Genital warts are the most common viral STI in the UK. 80% of the population has HPV, so it is almost “normal”.
Up to 20% of people with genital warts will also have another STI.
HPV is transmitted by close skin contact -generally genital to genital. Transmitting warts from yourself to another part of your body (autoinnoculation) e.g. genital is very unusual.
The incubation period can be between three weeks to 18 months. After this period, lesions may appear which are usually painless and asymptomatic but which may itch, burn, bleed or discharge. Most people infected with genital warts display no symptoms but can pass on the infection to others. This makes identifying the source of the infection impossible in most cases. Warts tend to appear on the skin of the penis, scrotum and groin region in men. In women, they can occur on the vulva, inside the vagina and on the cervix.
Approximately 70% new infections clear in 1 year and 90% in 2 years.
Diagnosis of HPV
Diagnosis is based on clinical appearance. For screening, HPV testing can be performed on swab from the penis or cervix or directly from a relevant genital skin lesion. This detects 20 strains of HPV including 6 and 11 and 16 and 18.
We carry out visual assessment for HPV and testing where appropriate at our Flagship clinics-CityDoc Moorgate and Oxford Circus and Canary Wharf Only. There is a Sexual Health Consultation Fee when no sexual health test is purchased.
|Name of Test||Availability / Turnaround||Price|
|HPV Screen||Central London Only - 10-14 Working Days||£220|
There is no treatment for HPV infection itself. However, the warts can be treated by various methods including applying creams such as Warticon® directly to the warts. Other methods of removal include cryotherapy (zing the warts using liquid nitrogen) and surgery for very large warts. Patients may continue to be infectious even when there are no visible warts. We strongly recommend full general STI screening, given the higher probability of other underlying co-infections.
Ideally, sexual contact with new partners should be avoided until the current warts have cleared.
|Follow Up Consult||£70|