Can I get Genital Warts if my partner has them? – Better2Know Blog


As much as we might wish it were otherwise, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) need to be at the forefront of the mind of anyone who is sexually active. That means you need to know about the various ways your health can be affected, and what infections you may be exposed to when having sex.

If you’re sexually active, you need to know about the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV, the virus that causes Genital Warts, is the most common viral STI in the world and infects millions of people every year. It is estimated that 90% of men and 80% of women who are sexually active will catch an HPV infection during their lives.

But how likely are you to get it, and will you certainly get the virus if your partner has it?

In this blog, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about getting Genital Warts, and what you can do to protect yourself. So, let’s get started.

What are STIs?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that spread mainly through sexual activity. These infections can be bacterial, viral, or parasitic.

Some of the common STIs include:

Most STIs don’t show any symptoms, so it’s very easy to have an STI, not know it, and unintentionally spread it. This is why it is important to keep yourself safe by practicing safe sex and getting tested regularly.

What is HPV and what symptoms does it cause?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of common viruses that are mainly transmitted through sexual activity. There are more than 140 different strains of HPV. Some strains of the infection, known as “high-risk HPV”, can cause cancer, including cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, vulvar cancer, penile cancer, and anal cancer.

For the vast majority of people who get low-risk HPV (ie the strains that don’t cause cancer), HPV infections will not cause any symptoms or complications, and the body’s immune system will fight off the infection. However, these strains can sometimes cause Genital Warts.

Genital Warts typically appear as flesh-colored bumps on or around the genitals.

  • Colour: Genital Warts are usually the same color as the person’s skin or slightly darker.
  • Shape: The warts may resemble cauliflower. They can appear as either a single bump or in clusters.
  • Texture: The bumps may be rough, smooth, flat, or raised.
  • Size: Genital Warts can sometimes be too small to notice.
  • Location: Genital Warts can appear on or around the genitals, including the vulva, vagina, penis, scrotum, cervix, anus, and thighs. They can also appear in the mouth or throat if someone has had oral sex with a person who has them.

You should know that Genital Warts don’t cause sores, bleeding, or open wounds. Discolored marks, rashes, or bleeding on or around the genitals usually indicate the presence of another condition.

How is HPV transmitted?

An HPV infection acts slightly differently from most other STIs. Whereas other STIs are primarily transmitted through sexual contact, like vaginal, anal, and oral sex, or sharing sex toys, HPV can also spread through skin-to-skin contact, most often by touching an infected person’s genitals. This means you can get HPV even if there is no penetration or any exchange of bodily fluids.

How likely is it for someone to get HPV through sexual contact with a partner?

The likelihood of getting HPV from an infected sexual partner can vary based on several factors, including the type of sexual activity, the use of protection, which partner is infected, and the strain of HPV in question.

A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the overall rate of HPV transmission from the penis to the cervix was 4.9 per 100 person-months. This means that if 100 uninfected women had sexual contact with an infected partner every month, about 5 of them would get the virus each month.

This makes HPV very contagious, so if you are concerned about getting a genital HPV infection, you should do everything you can to protect your sexual health.

What do I do if my partner has Genital Warts?

There are a few things you can do if you find out that your sexual partner has Genital Warts.

1. Don’t panic: When dealing with the possibility of having an STI, it’s best to remain calm so you can deal with the situation with a clear mind.

2. Get tested: If you’re concerned about an STI, you should always get tested, Call the number listed at the top of this page to speak to the Better2Know team about getting our HPV test which includes a Pap smear/HPV test combination test or just an HPV PCR swab option for women and a PCR swab for men. You can get these tests at a Better2Know sexual health clinic near you. You may also want to consider Better2Know’s HPV Vaginal Swab Home Test Kit (for women) for maximum convenience. Your sexual partner(s) should also get tested.

3. Get treated: Your Better2Know doctor will help you access whatever care you will need in the case of a positive test result. Genital Warts tend to be treated with medication, freezing, or surgery. However, Genital Warts will sometimes go away on their own.

4. Prevent the spread: Using a condom every time you engage in sexual activity is a great way to avoid spreading infections. You may also wish to get an HPV vaccine which will protect you from the most common high and low risk strains of the HPV virus.

final thoughts

HPV is incredibly common, and in most cases, it doesn’t cause serious harm. However, it still poses a risk. If you’re sexually active and are concerned about HPV and Genital Warts, you should practice safe sex and get tested often.

Speak to a member of the Better2Know team to find out more about HPV and how you can protect your sexual health.


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