Symptoms and Testing

What are the symptoms of HPV and genital warts? What kind of tests can be done to find out if I have HPV?

Since HPV is a virus, there is no cure. The HPV virus can live in the body for weeks, months or years without having any symptoms of the HPV disease.

Symptoms can manifest in the form or genital warts. About two-thirds of people who have sexual contact with a partner with genital warts will develop warts, usually within 3 months of contact.

Many people with genital warts complain of itching, irritation, bleeding, discharge and pain.

Any growth or sore on your genitals is a cause for concern and should be examined by your doctor.  See Genital Warts Facts for how warts are described in appearance in fact number two.

An early infection might not be obvious, so you could have genital warts and not know it.

Your doctor may use more than one technique to confirm that you have genital warts. After visually examining your genitals, the doctor may use a magnifying instrument (colposcope) to see and identify flat or tiny warts (inside a women’s vagina or on the shaft of a man’s penis). Sometimes it is necessary to obtain a small sample of tissue (biopsy) and look at the tissue under a microscope.

If you are a woman, your doctor may perform a pap smear and remove a few cells from the opening of the uterus (cervix) for laboratory study.

You can have more than one STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) – Syphillis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes, HIV, and AIDS. All patients with HPV should be tested or screened for the other STDs and HIV.