Condylomata Acuminata – also referred to as genital wart(s), is a viral infection.
Genital warts are almost always caused by human papilloma virus, which are also called condyloma viruses. The pathogens are most commonly transmitted by contact infection or contact infection during sexual intercourse or genital contact. A transfer of pathogens from mother to child at birth is also possible. It is not yet clear whether genital strains of HPV can also be transmitted non-sexually, for example through contaminated objects or bathing together. However, there are documented cases where sexual transmission could be excluded.
About 1% to 2% of the sexually active population have visible genital warts. In addition, about 5% to 10% of the population have subclinical warts that are not visible to the naked eye and consequently are often not diagnosed. The risk to undergo an HPV infection during their lifetime is estimated between 75% and 80%. Due to the high infectivity and dissemination of an HPV infection, it is an almost inevitable consequence of sexual contact. Five years after onset of sexual activity approximately 70% of all women have been infected with at least one of anogenital HPV type. The majority of infections is without clinical symptoms and is no longer detectable after some time even with costly methods.
Usually, a few weeks to several months, sometimes (in rare cases) even years, pass between the intial infection and the occurrence of genital warts. The pathogens form in both men and women usually in the genital area or the anus as small warts that look like small stalks. In addition, intra-anal, intravaginal, or urethral warts are possible. Warts in the mouth are possible, but relatively rare. Overall, the disease itself is not fatal, but if untreated, it can gain significant negative impact on the (sexual) life quality of the patients.
In about 30% of cases, genital warts healby themselves and disappear. Since HPV is often mentioned in connection with increased cancer risk, it should be noted that a sole infection with low-risk types that cause condyloma acuminata, cancer risk is generally not increased. However, since high-risk types have the same infection such as low-risk types in condylomata acuminata, a parallel infection cannot be excluded with a high-risk type. If, however, the infection is present in high-risk persons, risk of developing cervical cancer increases significantly.
It is possible to remove the warts with laser treatment, and additionally, there are different drug treatment options.