Myths and Misconceptions of Genital Warts
Genital warts are one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, but people need the right information to help prevent or treat this situation. Clear, correct, updated information concerning human papillomavirus (HPV) and genital warts are hard to find. The conclusion is that a lot of myths and misconceptions regarding genital warts overflow. In some cases, these misguided beliefs may even harm. Incorrect information may have several physical and emotional ramifications on the sufferer. For example, he/she may suffer from severe anxiety over his/her condition, doubt the faithfulness of his/her partner, undergo a costly and painful method that could differently have been avoided, or worst of all, failure having his/her condition treated and risked his/her health.
This article tackles the most common misconceptions and busts these myths to make more people know genital warts and HPV much better.
Myth: Only women can transfer HPV and have genital warts.
Fact: The possibilities of males and females having HPV and genital warts are more or less equal. However, the symptoms of genital warts seem more on the female because their anatomy affords a better breeding ground for the virus. The warm and moist conditions of the vagina make it an attractive spot for the virus to live in and multiply.
Myth: I can only get genital warts by having unprotected sex.
Fact: It is no doubt that unprotected sex raises your chances of getting HPV. Direct skin contact can also transmit HPV. Thus, some methods of protection like condoms won’t guard you against some STDs because they do not cover the entire genital area. It can be passed on during oral sex, following in warts in the mouth and throat. Furthermore, some studies have shown that HPV can be spread through contact with infected objects such as contaminated medical supplies and bath towels.
Myth: If I do not see genital warts, it indicates that I don’t have HPV.
Fact: HPV, when passed on, can be in a latent or incubation phase that can last for a few weeks to even many years. Thus, symptoms of genital warts will not manifest right away. A carrier may never know that male/female has the virus. In fact, the experts predict that only about 1% of all Americans who are sexually active have visible warts.
Myth: Genital warts lead to cervical cancer.
Fact: Genital warts are caused by a different strain of HPV. These strains are not related to the ones that cause cervical cancer, in particular, types 16, 18, 31, and 45. Ordinary genital warts are caused by low-risk types of HPV, namely 6, 11, 42, 43, and 44.
Myth: Having genital warts means that I will have recurrences for the rest of my life.
Fact: In some cases, genital warts do recur but in varying persistence. The good news is that the immune system gains control over the virus as time passes by, so the recurrences become less frequent. In most cases, recurrences are wiped out within two years. However, if the immune system is impaired through the use of certain drugs or temporary trauma such as acute illness, surgery, or stress, it may be unable to hinder genital warts from resurfacing.