How are Genital Warts (HPV) treated?

Though it is possible they will disappear on their own, there are a variety of ways to treat genital warts:

  • Medication (* Do not use while pregnant)
    • 0.5% podofilox solution*
    • 5% 5-fluorouracil cream*
    • 20% podophyllin antimitotic solution*
    • Imiquimod cream
    • Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
  • Freezing, Burning, Laser
  • Surgery. Usually only used for large warts that are unresponsive to medications or other removal methods

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Recovery Time

Recovery time from an outbreak of genital warts varies by the size and location of the warts as well as the treatment method used. For example:

  • Freezing: takes about 1-3 weeks
  • Laser: removal takes about 2-4 weeks
  • Physical surgery: takes about 2-4 weeks

Sexual Activity

When warts are visible, all sexual activity should be avoided to prevent passing the disease in that manner.


Recurrences of genital warts are common and are seen most often in the three months directly following treatment. Between 20% and 50% of people will see recurrence of warts. However, as a patient goes longer without having a recurrence, their likelihood of developing warts again decreases.

Quick snapshot

Can it be cured?

No. Viruses don't have cures, but symptoms can be controlled with proper treatment.

Type of Infection

Viral. Genital warts are caused by certain strains of HPV, the human papillomavirus.

How is it treated?

Medicine or Surgery. There are a variety of treatment options including medications and surgery (freezing, burning, laser and physical removal).

Recovery Time

1 to 4 weeks. Recovery varies by type of treatment as well as size and location of the outbreak. Anywhere from 1-4 weeks should be expected.

Can I have sex?

No. Until the warts are gone, sexual activity should be avoided.

Can I get re-infected?

Yes. As the base cause of genital warts is an incurable virus, you can have recurrence of genital warts without a new infection.