STD Home > Important Information on Venereal Warts
How Are They Diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider usually diagnoses venereal warts by seeing them. If you are a woman with venereal warts, you also should be examined for possible HPV infection of the cervix.
Your healthcare provider may be able to identify some otherwise invisible warts in your genital tissue by applying vinegar (acetic acid) to areas of your body that might be infected. This solution causes infected areas to whiten, which makes them more visible. In some cases, a healthcare provider will take a small piece of tissue from the cervix and examine it under the microscope.
If you have an abnormal Pap smear result, it may indicate the possible presence of cervical HPV infection. A laboratory worker will examine cells scraped from your cervix under a microscope to see if they are cancerous.
While HPV (the virus that causes venereal warts) has no known cure (see Cure for Genital Warts), treatments are available. This includes prescription medications and certain medical procedures. Your healthcare provider will consider your wishes and the size, location, and number of venereal warts before recommending treatment.
Even without treatment for venereal warts, however, they often disappear on their own. There is no way to predict whether the warts will grow or disappear.
There are no over-the-counter treatments for venereal warts. If you decide to have the warts removed, do not use over-the-counter medicines meant for other kinds of warts.
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Winer RL, Lee SK, Hughes JP, Adam DE, Kiviat NB, Koutsky LA. Genital human papillomavirus: infection incidence and risk factors in a cohort of female university students. Am J Epidemiol. 2003;157:218-226.
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Habif, T. Sexually Transmitted Viral Infections. In: Clinical Dermatology. 3rd Edition. St Louis, Mosby-Year Book, 1996.
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