- In the United States, HPV is considered to be the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD). Some studies estimate that the majority of the sexually active population is exposed to at least one or more types of HPV - although most do not develop symptoms. Because HPV is so common and prevalent, a person does not need have to have a lot of sexual partners to come into contact with this virus.
- This type of wart is sexually transmitted. It is highly contagious. The incubation period - the amount of time between contact with a person who has condyloma and the time you notice condyloma - typically ranges from three weeks to eight months, with an average of three months. Condyloma may, however, appear years after a person has been exposed.
- Some people apparently can have the virus, not show any signs of condyloma and still transmit the virus to a partner, who may develop condyloma. Since HPV can have such a long incubation period, it is often not possible to determine how you contracted it.
- Some strains of HPV seem to be related to the occurrence of genital cancer, especially cancer of the cervix. Therefore, if you have condyloma, it should be thoroughly evaluated and treated.
- Although condyloma can be treated and cured, the causative virus, HPV cannot. It is possible to transmit HPV even after all the condyloma are gone.
- Limiting the number of sexual partners you have will help prevent transmission of HPV and other sexually transmitted infections. It is controversial whether condom use can prevent HPV transmission. Condoms cover only the penis; HPV may be found elsewhere on the sexual organs (i.e. scrotal sac, anus). The female condom may be more helpful.
So let's boil this down - it's common, once you have it you can transmit it forever, there's more than one strain so you can always get it again, you can't always tell if you have it (much less if your partner does), if condoms were 100% effective they couldn't stop it, and it can cause cancer. That's right, sweetie - you might be more likely to get cancer from those smelly hippies you hooked up with at the protest than from the nuke plant or waste dump you were protesting.
(I'm not a physician, but you guys out there shouldn't be too cocky. Women might have to deal with cervical cancer, but it wouldn't surprise me a bit to find a connection between HPV and prostate cancers. I'm guessing that that isn't really high-priority research - there aren't many men's health pressure groups out there that I know of.)
Want a source for the above information and more? OK, but be aware that it contains pictures of the condition at the bottom of the page, which I'm guessing are NSFW. Thus warned, look here. Also, there's the American Social Health Association's site here, which covers many other topics besides.