Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus) - Prevention
You can reduce your
risk of becoming infected with the
human papillomavirus (HPV) or another
sexually transmitted disease (STD). You also can
reduce the risk of spreading HPV to your sex partner(s).
Practice safe sex
Preventing a sexually
transmitted disease (STD) is easier than treating an infection after it
- Talk with your partner about STDs before
beginning a sexual relationship. Find out whether he or she is at risk for an
STD. Remember that it is possible to be infected with an STD without knowing
it. Some STDs, such as
HIV, may be in your blood for 3 to 6 months before
they can be detected.
- Be responsible.
- Avoid sexual contact if you have symptoms
of an STD or are being treated for an STD.
- Avoid sexual contact
with anyone who has symptoms of an STD or who may have been exposed to an
- Don't have more than one sex partner at a time. Having several
sex partners increases your risk of getting an STD.
Condom use can
reduce the risk of becoming infected with HPV. You can help prevent infection
if you use them every time you have sex. Condoms must
be put on before beginning any sexual contact.
Female condom use
Even if you are using another
birth control method, you may wish to use condoms to reduce your risk of
getting an STD.
Female condoms are available for women whose partners
do not have or will not use a male condom. Female condoms may lower the risk of
HPV infection of the cervix. But these condoms are more effective at lowering
the risk of other STDs.
If you are age 26 or younger, you can get the HPV shot. The vaccines Cervarix(What is a PDF document?) and Gardasil(What is a PDF document?) protect against two types of HPV that cause cervical cancer. Gardasil also protects against two types of HPV that cause genital warts. Three shots are given over 6 months. The series of shots is recommended for girls age 11 or 12 and can be given to females ages 9 to 26. Females can get either vaccine. And males ages 9 to 26 can get three Gardasil shots to reduce the chance of getting genital warts. For more information,
see the topic
HPV: Should My Daughter Get the Vaccine?
The HPV vaccine is not useful for treating women who
already are infected with HPV.5 But it may protect a
woman against types of the HPV virus other than the one causing her