HPV stands for human papillomavirus. This virus is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the world. It is estimated there are at least 6 million new cases of HPV reported each year to the Centers for Disease Control. There are at least 20 million active cases of HPV in the United States alone. HPV is spread easily because a lot of times it produces no symptoms. Individuals can be carriers of this virus and never know it. HPV warts are an indicator that an individual is infected with this virus.
What do HPV Warts Look Like?
HPV warts or genital warts are gray or flesh toned growths that appear on the genital areas of men and women. These warts can grow in clusters, or they can appear by themselves. The surface of genital warts can be smooth, or they can be rough, resembling the surface of a cauliflower. 
Men can get HPV warts on the penis, scrotum, anus, groin and on the thighs. Women can have genital warts around the outside of the vagina, inside the vagina and even on the cervix. Women can also get warts on the thighs and around the anus.
Warts can come in various sizes. Those that form in clusters are obviously more noticeable than tiny warts that appear by themselves. It is important if you notice any type of bump or lump on your genital area, you have it checked by a doctor. Women should always have a pap test every year. HPV can produce cervical changes, which can lead to cervical cancer.
Who Gets HPV Warts?
HPV warts can affect anyone who is sexually active. This wart causing virus can be passed from person to person through genital to genital contact. It can also be passed through anal sex and oral sex. No one is immune to HPV. Heterosexuals and homosexuals are both at risk for contracting HPV.
The HPV virus can stay in the body for years. The body’s immune system is the only defense against this virus. Therefore, those individuals who have weak immune systems will have a harder time getting rid of HPV.
There is no age limit to getting HPV warts. Anyone who is sexually active is susceptible. As soon as an individual has sex for the first time or engages in some form of sexual activity, he is at risk for getting HPV.
Treatment for HPV Warts
It is important to remember there is no cure for HPV. The only way to get rid of this virus is to let the body’s immune system clear it. However, there are ways to treat the warts that are caused by this virus. Treatment for HPV warts should be prescribed by a doctor. An individual should never use over the counter wart medication on genital warts.
There are prescription strength topical treatments that can be used on visible genital warts. Some of these treatments must be applied by a doctor in the office. Other prescription creams can be applied by the affected individual at home. Imiquimod, Podophyllin and podofilox and Trichloroacetic acid are examples of prescription treatments for HPV warts.
There are surgical procedures that can be used to treat these warts.
During this procedure, liquid nitrogen is pumped into a needle-like applicator called a probe. The liquid nitrogen produces intense cold. This cold probe is then placed directly on the genital wart to freeze it away. This type of treatment has very little risk for side effects. However, when warts on the cervix are treated it can be difficult to know the depth of the wart and therefore, not all of the wart may be eradicated.
This is another type of treatment for HPV warts that uses a probe-like device. This probe has an electric current running through it. This electric current is used to burn the wart away.
3. Laser Treatment
A laser that emits intense beams of light is used to burn, cut or destroy tissue. The laser beams are from very small radiation sources that pose no risk to the patient.
4. Surgical Removal
In some cases, HPV warts are not responsive to more conservative treatment, or they are too large to treat with the other methods of wart removal. In these cases, the only option is to cut the warts off.
It is important to keep in mind that once HPV warts are removed, there is always a risk of them returning.