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Genital warts

Genital warts are caused by the HPV virus and passed on by penetrative sex, sharing sex toys and by genital skin-to-skin contact.


  • One or more painless fleshy growths or lumps anywhere on the genital area
  • Sometimes itching or bleeding from your genitals or anus

There is no test for genital warts. It usually takes a couple of months to a couple of years for warts to develop after infection with HPV. So, if you’re in a relationship and you get genital warts, it does not necessarily mean you, or your partner, has been having sex with other people during that time.

Not everyone who has the virus develops genital warts. For most people, including those who have visible warts, the virus will be cleared from the body over time.

It’s rare for genital warts to cause any long-term health problems.

Download our patient leaflet for more information.