What Will I Do if my Partner has Genital Warts?
One of the most often-asked questions doctors get from their patients is “What will I do if my partner has genital warts?”.
Some factors vary, but the scenario is the same. Two people are engaged in a straight or gay relationship. Sexual contact may have been going on for months or even years until cauliflower-like clusters are discovered in one of the partner’s genital or anal area. What makes it emotionally-shattering is that most infected persons have genital warts for years and don’t even know about it.
“It's unfortunate you noticed that your partner might be infected during a sexual experience, but perhaps she doesn't know either — doubly scary!”, Said Dr. Laura Berman, director of the Berman Center in Chicago, when asked for professional advice. Dr. Berman is the assistant Ob-Gyn professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.
Dr. Berman stressed that, first of all, infected couples must pay their doctor a visit so some STD tests could be done immediately.
Know the Signs
The appearance of white cauliflower-like clusters in the genito-anal area can be a sign of genital warts which is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts can also be tiny and hard to see unless examined at close range by a doctor. They can grow singularly or in clusters. Infection can break out in three months or sometimes years after sexual contact with an HPV carrier. Since genital warts are painless, they can stay on for years without being noticed.
Genital warts in women appear inside and outside the vagina, the cervix or around the anal region. In men, warts appear on the penis, the scrotum and around the anus. Around 90% of persons who engage in sex with an HPV carrier is bound to get the virus.
Dr. Fredrik F. Broekhuizen, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Medical College of Wisconsin said, “In up to 90% of patients, exposure to HPV is the result of sexual activity. It does not require intercourse - the virus is spread through skin contact. Exposure to multiple sex partners leads to higher risk of getting the virus.”
Dr. Broekhuizen further stated that not all HPV is sexually transmitted since it can be acquired through direct skin to skin contact. Infected mothers have been known to carry the virus to their child during birth.
Seek Immediate Treatment
There are various doctor-prescribed topical creams available for the treatment of genital warts. One of the prescription drugs used is Imiquimod (Aldara), an immune system booster. For the total elimination of genital warts tissues, podofilox (Condylox) is prescribed.
For advanced cases, surgical procedures including wart excision, electrocauterization, cryotherapy and laser treatment are recommended.
An Ounce of Prevention
Letting an infected partner know of the options open for warts treatment is an expression of care, mainly if the person is not aware of the infection. Study up about STD’s even after undergoing treatment and practice monogamous safe sex. Refrain from any sexual contact until the genital warts treatment is complete. Sex has to wait until your doctor certifies you and your partner STD-free.