STDs Expert Forum
Some Questions Concerning Genital Warts.
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Some Questions Concerning Genital Warts.

I have done extensive reading about genital warts on this site, and from the medical opinions I have read, I have found that genital warts are really just a trivial problem for people, because they typically clear in a 8-24 month period after the immune system suppresses the HPV. However, I still have some questions.

1. You have said that genital warts typically clear in 8-24 month period, since you said typically, does that mean that some people can have genital warts that never clear, if so what percentage of people fall under this catergory?

2. Do some people have genital warts that frequently reoccur throughout their lives, after every time they are cleared, either after medical removal or immune suppression, and what percentage of people fall under this category?

3. How effective is medical removal of genital warts, do you know about what percentage of people that have genital warts, simply cannot have them be removed or cleared by a doctor? If so, would it be possible that their immune systems could remove these warts if the medical techniques were ineffective?

Thanks for your time,  I would really appreciate if you could clear up these questions that  I have about HPV and Genital warts.
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Welcome to the STD forum.  Thanks for reading the forum for similar discussions before asking your questions.

1) There are no definitive data.  But I am unaware of perment warts that never clear.  My guess is that 90+% clear within 24 months and I doubt any last more than 4-5 years.

2) This may happen, but is rare.  My guess is under 1% of affected persons.

3) All warts can be cleared up in the short term. If the chemical and immunologic therapies don't work (Condylox, podophyllin, bi- or trichloroacetic acid, Aldara), the direct destructive methods (cautery, freezing, surgery) always are effective for the short term.  Some warts recur, however, despite treatment. And yes, it is the patient's immune system that eventually clears warts and the underlying HPV infection.

A final point is that some people with apparent persistent or recurrent warts in fact have other skin bumps, e.g. due to scar tissue, and not actual wart recurrence.  A dermatologist can generally tell the difference. If this situaiton applies to you, don't assume that the continuing lesions are warts until and unless you have a professional diagnosis.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD
3 Comments
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Thank you very much, your answers were very straightforward and helpful.
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Glad to be of help.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
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