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“Warts” – something we all have heard or experienced before.

Would you be surprised if we call you reckless should you choose to be unconcerned about it?

Many of you may be curious about the causes of warts, which is the topic that we will be discussing in this article.

“Warts” occur from a virus infection called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), particularly HPV 6 and HPV 11. Although both of them are low-risk-of-cancer types, they are linked to approximately 90 percent of genital warts. Genital warts are a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that involves skin/fleshy growths around the genital or anal area. The skin changes usually appear 3 months after the infection happens. However, in some cases, there would not be any skin changes for years.

The reason why it would be reckless of you to ignore warts is that, in addition to genital warts, HPV could cause male genital cancers, colorectal cancer, and mouth or throat cancer — making this a perfect timing for you to be shocked about it!

According to research, men who have sex with men (MSM) have a higher risk of HPV. Whereas, the risk is even higher for those who change their sexual partners more often.

We may all have been infected with HPV as there are more than 100 types of HPV. However, when our body is healthy/strong enough, it would create an immunity that eliminates the virus from our body. Such immunity would also prevent the infection of the same type of virus in the future. Nonetheless, if our body/immune system is weakened and we are exposed to a new kind of virus, our body might not be able to eliminate the virus completely or eliminate it at all, causing further infection that could lead to cancer.  

Warts are transmitted by touch, either during sexual intercourse with an infected person or by hand. Therefore, it concerns not only MSM but also men who have sex with women and women who have sex with women. One notable thing to point out is that sometimes HPV infection shows no symptom making the infected person unaware of their condition.

** The use of a condom cannot prevent HPV infection for 100% due to the abovementioned fact. The best prevention would be to forbid ourselves from having sexual intercourse, which we all know how difficult or impossible that sounds.

Nevertheless, we still recommend the use of condoms whenever you have sexual intercourse. Even if it is not 100% effective in preventing HPV, it is still operative in decreasing the risk of getting other diseases. Ultimately, keeping ourselves healthy is the best and most possible way. Furthermore, it should be noted that HIV patients have a higher risk of HPV infection that would develop to cancer, which may be severe and hard to treat. As a result, health check-up and examination for sexually transmitted diseases are having more roles in the prevention of HPV infection.

Male genital cancers can lead to skin changes such as darker skin, thicker skin due to accumulated skin tissue, aching pain because of the changes occur to genital cells, or even bleeding.

But do not be confused! HPV is not cancer, but rather the virus that can cause changes to the body, which may lead to cancer.

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