Venereal / Genital Warts

Venereal or genital warts is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This virus causes warts on the skin, affects both men and women and is transmitted easily through any type of sexual contact.


Venereal warts are very similar in appearance to common skin warts. They may develop from 3 weeks to 3 months after exposure to the virus. In men, they usually appear near the tip of the penis and sometimes on the shaft or on the scrotum. In women, they may appear on the vaginal lips, inside the vagina, on the cervix or around the anus. HPV also can cause cervical lesions.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Clinicians usually can diagnose venereal warts by physical examination. Treatment of both affected partners and removal of all the warts are important. Medications applied directly to the warts may be helpful. A procedure involving freezing of tissues often is used. Lasers sometimes are used to remove large venereal warts.

HPV Vaccine

An HPV vaccine is available for young women and men to prevent genital warts and genital cancer. This vaccine is available at the Maricopa County vaccine clinic.

Potential Complications

Generally, venereal warts are not a serious condition, although they are highly contagious. Women with cervical lesions caused by HPV have a higher risk of cervical cancer. These women should have regular Pap smears.

For more information on Venereal/Genital Warts, contact Maricopa County Public Health Division of STDs at 602-506-1678 or visit the Centers for Disease Control website.