Caused by a virus, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), similar to that of the warts that form on the skin. This virus affects indiscriminately men and women.
Genital warts, also known as "Creste di Gallo" are small benign tumors that can settle on the genitals (pelvis, penis, testicles), the entrance of the vagina and anus, urethra and cervix, groin and thigh.
These growths can be flat or raised, of variable size and may be isolated or in groups.
Who is infected with warts runs a greater risk of being infected with HIV during unprotected sex with HIV-positive people.
In some cases, the warts can progress to cancer of the uterus (in women) or the anus and rectum (man).

How are they transmitted?

- With unprotected sex: they are at risk ALL types of relationship (oral, anal, vaginal).
- With the simple contact between the genitals.
- Through direct contact with the skin of the infected person.
- Through the exchange of underwear and towels.
- Using contaminated genital instruments.
- With exchange and use of contaminated sex toys.

What are the symptoms?

In both men and women, develop growths more or less large in the proximity of the genital or anal area. These formations can be totally asymptomatic, they can be annoying or cause pain. Sometimes they rupture and bleeding can occur.
Generally the condilomas are set to grow over time, and could become an obstacle to the relationship: both from the mechanical point of view and for the pain and bleeding that result during the sexual act.

What if you do not treat it?

Besides increasing the risk of contracting the HIV virus, the condilomas can lead to cancer. It should be clear, however, that not all types of condyloma evolve to cancer (there are specific subtypes at risk). However, it is always advised to treat them as soon as possible, also to prevent the infection from spreading to other people.

How is it diagnosed?

The diagnosis must be made by the dermatologist, who will be able to distinguish it from other apparently similar lesions. It’s also important to check for other infections simultaneously (syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis).
If you have had unprotected sex or if you doubt that you contracted condilomas, ask your dermatologist or go to the Unit Sexually Transmitted Diseases closest to you.

How is it treated?

The therapy varies depending on the size of the lesions and the body area on which they are:
PHYSICAL Therapy: cryotherapy (burning with liquid nitrogen), diathermy (heat with burning), laser therapy, surgery.
CHEMICAL therapy: is the application of specific dermatological products directly on the lesion.
The duration of treatment can be very long and you need to have patience until your immune system is able to eradicate the virus. In fact it is not uncommon that the growths show recurrences.
Also you should avoid sexual intercourse for the entire period of treatment in order to limit the disease diffusion.

How to prevent it?

The best way to avoid infection during sexual intercourse is always a condom, even if it does not guarantee the transmission of the extragenital condilomas (oral-anal skin). Then apply the golden rules for each sexual intercourse:

- Use a condom during sexual intercourse.
- Avoid unprotected sex with infected people.
- Use a condom to protect the objects used for the sexual practice.
- Use a condom from the beginning even during oral sex.
- Make periodic visits to the specialist if you have casual relationships and frequently with more people.
- Avoid exchanging underwear and towels.