Condyloma Acuminatum (Genital Wart, HPV)
Genital warts (condyloma acuminata) are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which has over 100 different strains. Subtypes number 6 and 11 cause 90% of genital warts and are considered low risk because they very rarely will cause genital or anal cancer. On the other hand, subtypes 16 and 18, for example, are considered high risk because, although they rarely cause genital warts, they can lead to cervical or anal precancer and cancer.
HPV is spread by skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity; there does not need to be vaginal or anal intercourse to spread the infection. Most people who become infected with HPV will not have symptoms and will clear the infection on their own. For people who do develop genital warts, there are many options for treatment, all of which are meant to remove the visible warts. There is no cure for genital warts.
Gardasil® is a vaccine that protects against the 4 strains of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts. In the US, Gardasil is approved for girls/women and boys/men ages 9–26. In 2011, Health Canada approved the vaccine for women up to the age of 45.