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Kristen Stirling, NP, was interviewed by Helen Massy for an article, “Yes, All Warts Are Caused by HPV” on the sexual health article site, Giddy. The article provides a general overview of warts, genital warts, and wart prevention.

Below are some common questions about warts that the article answers. For more information, be sure to read the full article on Giddy.

Why do people get warts?

Kristen: “HPV (human papillomavirus) is the virus that causes all warts.” She also explains there are many known HPV strains, but only a minority of these strains cause warts.

How easily do warts spread?

Massy: “HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States.” She then references the CDC’s report that almost all sexually active men and women contract HPV during their lifetime.

Kristen: “Frequent or vigorous contact with [genital warts] can spread the virus elsewhere on the body or to another person.” She goes on to explain that if you have a common wart on your hand and you shake hands with someone, the virus won’t spread on your skin or to anyone else. However, vaginal sex, oral sex, and anal sex can cause the virus to spread.

Are warts dangerous?

Kristen: “When warts are present from [HPV], they are generally just a nuisance.”

Can warts cause cancer?

Kristen: “Certain strains of HPV can cause health problems, including genital warts and cancers.”

Later in the article, Kristen explains that HPV has been identified as the cause of many new head and neck cancers in men.

Can I tell where I got warts from?

A: Massy explains that it can be difficult to know when or where you contracted HPV because symptoms can present weeks, months, or years after sexual contact with someone carrying the virus.

If you have a wart, do you have HPV?

Kristen: “All warts are an active virus.”

Can you get a blood test for HPV?

Kristen: “HPV hangs out in the skin cells where contact is made from the original host. Therefore, it’s not a virus that can be tested by a blood draw.”

Is the HPV vaccine effective?

Massy: “[The vaccine] currently protects against nine different strains [of HPV].”

Who should get the HPV vaccine?

Kristen: “The vaccine is recommended for everyone younger than 27. However, there may be cases when the vaccine is appropriate for adults between 27 and 45 years old. 

And it doesn’t just affect women, there is a startling number of new head and neck cancers from HPV in men. It is critical to vaccinate boys and men, too.”

For more information about HPV genital warts, causes, prevention, and treatment read the original article on Giddy.

To schedule an online consultation with Kristen Stirling for warts or other derm conditions, click here to Get Started.


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