This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Management of genital warts

Written by: | Published:

During the middle of the 20th century, genital warts were found to be caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), of which there are more than 100 genotypes. Genital warts, like skin warts and verrucas, are epidermal tumours; while some genotypes are more related to wart development than others (e.g. types 6 and 11), some are more associated with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and carcinoma of the cervix (e.g. types 16 and 18)1

Many people with HPV infection do not have genital warts. Initially, the wart formation process is via a port of entry in traumatised skin epithelium, into the basal germinal layer. The virus then multiplies inside the nuclei of the basal cells, which are the only dividing cells in the skin epithelium, resulting in the warty appearance of hyperkeratosis, hyperplasia, or overgrowth of the horny layers.

Sexual contact
The most usual route of infection is via sexual contact; however, perinatal transmission and, occasionally, transmission from hand warts in children have also been attributed to the transfer. There is no evidence that they are caused by fomites.

Factors other than sexual activity have been associated with a risk of acquiring genital warts. Smoking cigarettes and the use of ultraviolet sunbed radiation both decrease the Langerhans cell-mediated immune response and suppress natural killer cell activity.2

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.