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genital wart
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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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genital wart

I have read many of these but i'm still confused.  My boyfriend and I have been together for one year.  We have been faithful to one another and do not use condoms regularly.  Yesterday he learned he had genital warts.  I had given him oral sex when he had the wart (neither one of us realized it - it was a small wart at the base of the penis).  My question - could I get genital warts in my mouth from that exposure? We want to continue our relationship - we need help in how to have an active and 'normal' sex life.  Will we always have to use condoms? Some day we want to have children.  What do we do about oral sex?
I will be going to my doctor, but I have no visible signs of warts.  Will they show up as warts in me since that is what he has?  How would he know what # of strain he has
Thanks
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You and your partner are experiencing some pretty typical aspects of genital warts.  It is common for one partner to have warts and the other not to notice anything.  That's because most HPV infections cause no symptoms.  You probably also have a genital infection with the same virus causing his wart.  You may or may not develop visible warts yourself.  Also, warts can first show up many months after infection; so his wart doesn't necessarily mean either of you has had other partners.

The types of HPV that cause genital warts typically do not infect other areas of the body, such as the mouth; or if they do, they don't cause visible warts.  Anyway, since you almost certainly already are infected with the same virus in your genital area, you probably are immune to catching it again somewhere else, such as the mouth.  Since you already are infected, you don't need to use condoms or otherwise change your sexual practices with your partner.  However, if either of you has other partners in the next few months, you should assume you could transmit the infection to them.

Almost all genital warts are caused by HPV type 6 or 11, but there is no test to be sure of those types.  Your doctor probably will do a pap test, perhaps with HPV testing.  But even if that test is negative, it won't mean you aren't infected.  The ony HPV tests available are designed to be used in helping to interpret abnormal pap tests; they aren't intended to check to see whether your and your partner are infected with the same or different HPV types.

So if you have no symptoms and you don't develop visible warts or an abnormal pap smear, you have nothing to worry about.  Remember that all of us get HPV--at least 70% of the population gets a genital HPV infection somewhere along the line; it is inevitable and really not preventable.  (But that will change when the vaccines, currently in research, become available in a couple of years.)  Most genital HPV infections never cause symptoms or any serious health risk.

For more information, see the article on HPV/warts in the link "STD Quick Facts and Articles" on the STD forum home page; and also check out the information available from the American Social Health Association (www.ashastd.org) and CDC (www.cdc.gov/std).

Good luck--  HHH, MD
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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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