Physical Exam for Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus) for Men
A visual exam of the penis and anus is most
important to diagnose
genital warts in men. A magnifying glass may be used
to help locate abnormal tissue.
Why It Is Done
A physical exam may be done
A physical exam often is the only test needed to diagnose
genital warts. Some doctors will apply an acetowhite test to make the warts
more visible. Your doctor may apply a vinegar solution (weak acetic acid) to
the skin to show the difference between normal and abnormal tissue. A slight
burning sensation may occur when the acetic acid is applied. The acetowhite
test is not routinely recommended to confirm genital warts.
Findings of the physical exam may include the
Genital warts are not found.
But HPV may be
present even when the visual exam does not locate any warts. HPV can be present
in tissue that appears normal.
Genital warts are found on or around the penis, scrotum,
Treatment is based on:
- The number, size, and location of
- Any problems the warts cause (such as pain or
- Your treatment preferences.
A sample (biopsy) of
tissue may be taken if genital warts cannot be positively diagnosed with a
physical exam. A biopsy can confirm an HPV infection.
What To Think About
Many men do not notice that they
have genital warts, even when the warts are visible.
genital warts does not cure a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The virus
may remain inactive in the body after warts are removed. A person treated for
genital warts may still be able to spread the infection. Condoms may help
reduce the risk of getting HPV infection.
Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.
Primary Medical Reviewer
||Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
||Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of
||June 21, 2012