Genital Warts and HPV

All of us want to be protected from STDs, like genital warts. These tiny, below-the-belt bumps are caused by the human papillomavirus, or commonly called HPV, which are transmitted through sexual contact.


HPV infection is one of the common STDs in Singapore. Some forms of this virus can cause vaginal, cervical, rectal, and penile cancer. Once a person gets infected by HPV, it usually takes one to three months for the warts to surface, although in some cases they don’t show up at all.


Genital warts are flesh-, red-, or pink-coloured skin growths that appear on or inside the genitals during your STD screening check. They look like small cauliflowers or even tinier that you can barely see them. They are usually not painful, although in some instances can cause mild pain, itching, and even bleeding. Left untreated, the warts can spread rapidly in the genital area.

In men, genital warts can grow on the penis, scrotum, groin, thighs, and inside or outside the anal region. In women, they usually grow inside and outside of the vagina or anus and in the cervix. And since HPV can be transmitted through oral sex, warts may also appear in the mouth and throat and on the lips of the infected person.

Even if you can’t see the warts, it’s still possible to detect them if there’s vaginal discharge, bleeding, itching, and burning sensations happening in the genital area which can be discovered at in SIngapore. If the warts are left untreated, they can spread or enlarge, which can make the situation even more uncomfortable and painful.


There are over 40 types of HPV that can affect the genitals. However, according to some Singapore healthcare experts, 90 percent of such cases are caused by HPV 6 or HPV11.

HPV is a transmissible virus through skin-to-skin contact; therefore, any sexually active individual is at risk for HPV, although it’s more common in people below 30 years old. The viral particles penetrate the skin through microscopic abrasions in the genitals, which often happens during sexual intercourse. Once human cells are infected by HPV, it quietly works inside in a period of months to years, showing no signs of infection. Later on, warts start emerging in the genital area, which usually appears in clusters of three to four.


In an STD screening, your doctor will likely perform the following examinations to check for genital warts and any related STD:

• Physical examination of visible skin growths to confirm whether they are warts
• Application of acetic acid solution to highlight unnoticeable growths
• Pap smear and pelvic exam (for women)
• A specialized test for high-risk HPV
• Biopsy of cervical tissue (if any abnormality from the Pap smear result is found) to ensure that there’s no abnormal cells that could develop into cervical cancer
• Physical examination of the anal area.



Diagnosis of genital warts is often based on the history of the growth and finding from an STD screening. During the screening, your doctor will do a physical examination of the regions where you suspect warts are growing. Because warts can grow inside the body of women, your doctor will likely perform a pelvic test as well. A mild acidic solution may also be applied in the area to make the warts, especially the unnoticeable ones, more visible ones.

The doctor will also take a swab to get sample cells from the cervix. The sample is then tested for any signs of HPV. Some types of HPV can cause abnormal Pap smear results, which may lead to precancerous changes. If the specialist detects such abnormalities, you may be requested for more frequent screening to tack the changes.

You also be asked about your sexual history. This could include the number of partners you’ve had, your last screening, and whether or not you have engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse.
If you’re concerned about being contracted of an HPV type that causes cervical cancer, your doctor can do a DNA test.


Unfortunately, there’s no cure for HPV, but it can be treated. Genital warts can be removed with laser therapy, applying chemicals on it, or freezing it. There are also prescription drugs and topical treatments available to use at home. For warts that are larger and more difficult to treat, surgery may be necessary. However, it won’t permanently remove the warts as they can resurface after a few months. You may need to return to your healthcare provider for more treatment.


The surest way to prevent genital warts is abstinence. But if you’re sexually active, having sex to only one person and having a mutually monogamous relationship greatly lowers the risk of getting genital warts.

An anti-HPV vaccine named Gardasil can also protect both men and women from common types of HPV that cause genital warts, as well as some HPVs that show links to cervical cancer. There’s also Cervarix, another anti-HPV vaccine, which protects women from cervical cancer but not from genital warts. However, these vaccines are most effective when injected before a person becomes sexually active.

In addition to the vaccines, protected sex should be practiced every single time to reduce the risk of contracting with HPV and growing genital warts.

Not all bumps are caused by HPV. They could just be skin tags or haemorrhoids, but can also be symptoms of other STDs, like syphilis, or worse skin cancer. STD screening Singapore can examine closely any suspicious bumps you may have. Have it checked by a healthcare provider right away to protect your health and your partner’s health from potentially fatal health problems.