If you think you may have genital warts, visit your local sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.
Your GP will be able to diagnose genital warts and provide certain treatments, but the nurses and doctors atyour local clinic will have access to a wider variety of treatments.
Staff at the clinic will have specialist training to help diagnose, treat and support you. There is no blood test to check for an active HPV infection.
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You should have a check-up if you have obvious signs and symptoms of genital warts, or if a recent or current sexual partner develops genital warts or any other type of sexually transmitted infection (STI) .
You may also wish to have a check-up if:
All check-ups in sexual health and GUM clinics are free and confidential.
Genital warts can usually be easily diagnosedwith a simple examination. At a check-up, the doctor or nurse will examine the warts. They may use a magnifying lens to do this.
You may also be advised to have other areas of your genital skin examinedfor example, inside the vagina or around your anus.
Depending on where your warts are, you may be advised to have a more detailed examination. If you are advised to have a vaginal examination, this will usually be performed with a small plastic or metal tube called a vaginal speculum.
This will allow the doctor or nurse to see inside the vagina. It is a simple examination and is not usually painful.
If you are advised to have an examination of the inside of your anus, this will usually be performed using a small plastic tube called a proctoscope. This will allow the doctor or nurse to see the skin inside the anus. It is not usually painful.
If you are experiencing problems with the flow of urine, you may be advised to have a special examination of the urethra (the tube that urine flows through). This is usually only performed by a specialist.
Genital warts are small fleshy growths, bumps or skin changes that appear on or around the genital or anal area.
Genital warts usually appear within two to three months of developing an HPV infection, although incubation periods of up to a year have been reported.
Genital warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). The most common way HPV is passed from person to person is through sexual intercourse.
If you think that you may have genital warts, visit your local sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.
Treatment for genital warts depends on the type of warts you have and where they are located. You do not need treatment if there are no visible warts.
Using condoms (male or female) every time you have vaginal or anal sex is the most effective way to avoid getting genital warts, other than being celibate.