Can You Get Genital Warts from a Toilet Seat?
Put simply, no, you cannot get genital warts from a toilet seat. You can also not get genital warts from hugging, kissing, swimming pools, or from sharing cups, plates, or silverware.
Genital Warts and the Human Papillomavirus
Genital warts are caused by an infection of the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are currently over sixty different strains of HPV, of which approximately 12 have been identified to cause genital warts.
Genital Warts: Transmission
Genital warts are a sexually transmitted disease and therefore are transmitted through sexual contact, particularly close genital contact. Genital warts can be spread through anal or vaginal sex. However, penetration is not necessary for transmission of the virus. While rare, it is possible to contract a HPV infection from oral sex. Any person that is sexually active is at risk for infection from HPV.
Genital Warts: Signs and Symptoms
The appearance of genital warts is often the first sign noticed from infection of HPV. The warts are widely varied in their presence, as the size, shape, and number change based on the individual. Genital warts can appear anywhere near the genitalia. In women, the development of genital warts is common in the vagina, cervix, anus, vulva, and upper thighs. In men, the development of warts is common to the scrotum, penis, urethra, anus, and upper thighs. Most genital warts are painless, but can be accompanied with some discomfort, inflammation, and itching. Genital warts located to the anus or urethra can cause bleeding.
Genital Warts: Risk Factors
There are certain risk factors that increase your overall odds of becoming infected with genital warts. However, you should not that none of these risk factors involve the use of a toilet seat.
- STD: If you currently have a sexually transmitted disease, you are more likely to have an HPV infection as well.
- Sexual activity: Any sexual activity can put you at risk for the contraction of HPV. This is especially true for individuals that you do not know their sexual history.
- Age: There is a correlation between the infection of HPV and becoming sexually active at a young age.
Genital Warts: Prevention Methods
The most effective way to prevent contraction of genital warts is to avoid sexual contact with multiple partners. This is especially true for partners of which you have no direct knowledge of their sexual history. The use of condoms is recommended for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. However, the condom does not cover the entire genital area, making it possible for the transmission of HPV even with proper condom use.
Human Papillomavirus Complications
There are severe complications associated with some strains of the human papillomavirus, including several types of cancer. It is strongly recommended individuals visit their physician for annual physical examinations including a pap smear for women. Typically, abnormal pap smears can detect problems early, leading to more efficient treatment methods. The human papillomavirus is highly contagious; exercise caution and take care of your body.