There isn’t a cure for HPV, but genital warts will not go away on their own. They can be removed by your doctor.

These treatments can be done at your doctor’s office:

  • Excision: The wart is cut out.
  • Electrocautery: The wart is burned off using electricity.
  • Laser Therapy: Intense lights destroy the warts.
  • Trichloracetic Acid or TCA: This chemical is applied to the wart.
  • Cryotherapy: Warts are frozen off using liquid nitrogen.

There are some treatments that may be done using a prescription cream at home. These creams are Condylox (podophyllotoxin or podofilox), Veregen (green tea extracts or sinechatechins, Beseline or Aldara (imiquiod). Beselna and ALdara can cause issues in the immune system, so talk to your doctor about what treatment will be the best for you if you are HIV positive.

You should never use OTC (over the counter) removal products in order to treat various forms of warts caused by HPV.

Warts can also come back after a successful treatment. If you do not treat genital warts, they could go away, but they can also stay the same in size or they can get bigger. Some people decide not to go for treatment immediately, just to see if the warts will go away on their own. When you consider treatment options, you may want to talk to your doctor and take into account where the wart is, how big it is, and how many there are as well as if it has changed. Think about the side effects of the treatment and what you prefer.

A lot of women who have HIV with lowered CD4 cell counts, may have trouble getting rid of the warts with standard treatment. There are other treatments that you may need. For women who have HIV, one of the best ways is to get rid of the warts and make your immune system stronger is to take your HIV medications. If you are already taking them, then it is important that you take them how you are supposed to so that they will be able to raise the cell count of your CD4, and help your body fight HPV.

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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.

Recurrence

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.