The person you had sex with a week ago just admitted to being infected with HPV. He or she knew about the infection before having sex with you, but thought it was okay because “everyone has it” and made jokes about warts on sex organs. None of your friends seem to know how long does it take for genital warts to appear after exposure. You feel okay, but how can you know for sure if you’re infected? If you aren’t, how can you keep yourself safe? If you are, how can you keep from infecting a future sexual partner?
Table of Contents
How Long Before Genital Warts Appear?
They can appear within a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or a few years after you’re exposed to the virus. Some people have the virus and never have warts. There is no standard incubation time between HPV exposure and when genital warts could appear. It’s also possible that if you do experience the growth of warts, they could vanish without treatment within four months. If they don’t spontaneously disappear, you can have them removed.
Most sexually active people are exposed to HPV at least once in their lives. HPV is shorthand for human papillomavirus, which is highly contagious. Of the many types of HPV, only two are responsible for genital warts. Those two are labeled HPV 6 and 11. Other types of HPV can cause other kinds of warts, lesions, or cancer.
One of the biggest problems involving HPV is knowing who has it and who doesn’t when warts aren’t visible. The only way you will know for sure if you, or someone else, are infected is when genital warts are present.
Because HPV genital warts are often painless, you have to look to see if you have any. Warts can be very small or quite large.You might have one or two, or you might have lots of them. Warts can grow isolated from others, or they can grow in clusters. The colors can vary.
Warts that go away without treatment or that you have removed does not mean that you are cured of HPV. The virus remains in your system and warts can reappear at any time without warning. If you’ve been told that having oral or anal sex rather than vaginal sex will protect you, you’ve been misinformed. Genital warts aren’t particular about where they grow and can appear on your anus, in your mouth, or in your throat as well as your genitalia.
If you’re wondering how long does it take for genital warts to appear, you’ll find further information here.
How Did I Get Genital Warts?
You can acquire an HPV infection when your skin comes into contact with the skin of an individual with the virus. you can be very intimate with someone and get HPV without having sex. However, the most common way of contracting HPV is through sexual intercourse. You can generally be safe by abstaining from sex, but that’s not practical for the vast majority of people. Because most people aren’t aware they have HPV, they’re at risk for accidentally infecting others.
Engaging only in heterosexual encounters doesn’t prevent HPV. It can be easily passed via male to female, female to male, male to male, and female to female contact. If someone doesn’t tell you that he or she has HPV, and there are no visible warts, you won’t know they’re infected. You also won’t know if you’re infected unless and until you develop genital warts.
Experts recommend wearing a condom for all sexual activity, but remind individuals that condoms don’t offer full protection against HPV. That’s because condoms don’t cover all the body parts that come in contact during sex. The virus lives on your skin, not in body fluids.
Is There a HPV Test?
HPV makes its home in your DNA. Until recently there hasn’t been a conclusive test to determine whether you have the HPV infection. A Pap smear shows any abnormal cell growth, but that’s the result of an invasion by the cancer-causing HPV types. Gynecologists can order an HPV DNA test to determine the exact cause of abnormal cells. You’ll find a genital warts definition here.
To date, there is no test for men. The best way for either sex to know if they have a benign HPV infection is the appearance of genital warts.
HPV Types 6 and 11 are the sources of genital warts. However, Type 11 and several other types can lead to malignant growths. These include cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers. Cancerous cells are usually discovered by a Pap smear. Your doctor may then order a DNA HPV test. The DNA test will reveal what type of HPV you’re infected with so that you can receive appropriate treatment. The test is available only to women.
None of the HPV types are curable. If you’re infected, you’re potentially contagious for the rest of your life. Things aren’t as bleak as they may seem, however. Although medical science doesn’t have a cure for the virus, your body has the ability to banish it. The key is a strong immune system, and good lifestyle habits. You can be free of HPV in as little as two years. If your body doesn’t completely eliminate HPV, it may at least suppress it.
A previous infection with HPV or genital warts does not make you immune from subsequent infections.
How Long Before I Know If I Have Genital Warts?
Warts usually don’t appear immediately after exposure to HPV. Most people will discover the warts within two weeks to two months. However, it can take much longer before they appear. It’s also possible to have genital warts that will disappear on their own, then reappear, sometimes months or years later.
HPV infections are classified as latent, subclinical, and clinical. Latent means that the virus is dormant in your system. Subclinical infection is minimal with few, if any, symptoms; and clinical means that symptoms are present. Clinical when you see or feel genital warts.
The time between latent and clinical can vary from individual to individual. Your overall health can be a factor. Anything that weakens your immune system increases the likelihood of progressing from latent to clinical.
Weaknesses can include:
- Another illness,
- Chemo or radiation,
- Unhealthy life style,
- High stress levels,
You are still contagious even in the latent stages. A strong immune system can eliminate latent infections.
Three kinds of HPV vaccine are available:
- Gardasil 9.
The vaccines are generally recommended for young people who are not yet sexually active. The vaccines were first formulated for women, as they were designed primarily to prevent infection by the HPV types that lead to female malignancies. They are now available for young males and can help protect both sexes from HPV infections. The vaccines are rarely given to men and women over the age of 26. In general, they will not help an existing HPV infection. The search for a vaccine that can be administered to infected adults is continuing.
What Is the Incubation Time for Genital Warts?
The incubation time from your exposure to HPV and the appearance of genital warts is highly variable. The clock starts ticking immediately after you’ve been exposed, usually through sexual intercourse. The majority of individuals will see the growths within two weeks to two months after exposure. However, the warts could make an appearance within a couple of weeks, or in a couple of years. The infection could remain dormant for years before warts appear. Some individuals never experience warts, although they can pass the virus on to others.
Many times the warts will go away on their own, usually within several months. If they don’t vanish, you can have them removed by a medical professional. However, the warts are just a symptom of HPV. Unless your body is strong enough to eliminate or suppress the underlying virus, your genital warts can return at any time. You are most contagious when warts are present, but you can pass the virus on to others even when you don’t have any growths. If your question is are genital warts permanent, you will find the answer here.
Because the warts don’t appear immediately, you rarely know when or from whom you contracted the virus. For the sake of your current relationship, remember that the appearance of warts now doesn’t mean your partner cheated on you. Either one or both of you could have been carrying an HPV infection for years.
It’s also important to keep in mind that having an HPV infection that your body has thrown off in the past doesn’t keep you from being reinfected.
If you do become infected, you’re not alone. Thousands of individuals get HPV every year, although few of them realize it. Genital warts usually aren’t serious, but they’re no joking matter either. They can negatively affect your pleasure in life, including your sex life.
You can find further details of Genital warts here.