Genital warts are caused by a virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV). Applica – genital warts

tion of recently developed technology has led to the identification of more than 100 Viral warts that appear on the genitals types of HPV, about half of which cause genital infections (Workowski et al., 2010). and are primarily transmitted sexua||y.

Incidence and Transmission

The incidence of HPV infections has been increasing so rapidly in both sexes that this infection has reached epidemic proportions in recent years. HPV is now the most common viral STI in the United States (Navas, 2010). It is estimated that at least 15% of people in the United States are infected with HPV (Centers for Disease Control,

2009g). At least 50% of sexually active people will acquire an HPV infection at some point in their lives (Centers for Disease Control, 2009g).

HPV is primarily transmitted through vaginal, anal, oral, or oral-genital sexual inter­action. Transmission of HPV between the hands and genitals may also occur (Hernandez et al., 2008). Condoms, which significantly reduce transmission of many bacterial and viral infections, provide some protection but are far from an ideal preventive measure for HPV because the virus is often present on skin not covered by a condom (Thomas, 2008).

Sexually Transmitted Infections

HPV passed during oral sex is a common cause of throat cancer among American men (Girshman, 2011). About 60% of throat cancers in the United States are attributed to this virus, and the recent rise in the incidence of this cancer has occurred predomi­nantly among men (Gillison, 2012; Girshman, 2011).

Subclinical or asymptomatic infections with HPV are common, and viral shedding and transmission of the virus can occur during asymptomatic periods of infection. In fact, HPV is most commonly transmitted by asymptomatic individuals who do not realize that they are infected (Centers for Disease Control, 2009g).