Many people are in the dark about how soon it is safe for them to have sex after a bout with genital warts.
The Center for the Biology of Chronic Disease (CBCD) recently received a letter from a young woman concerned about how soon after a case of genital warts it is safe to have sex. The CBCD responded with expert advice.
Mike Evans, from the CBCD said “Lots of people who have just one genital wart or a full blown case of genital warts can have a single bout and then they clear up for good. Others, you know, can have really stubborn cases where they get rid of them for a while and then they sort of, you know, sneak back. Well, you don’t want to give those buggers to your sexual partner. So this was actually a really good question.”
“Eva” (real name withheld for privacy) a resident of Los Angeles, asked “Lots of my friends wanted to know what is genital warts and all. Well, I knew that, but I don’t know how long after clearing up genital warts it’s ok to have sex. That’s what I want to know.”
The CBCD is aware that many people have the same question. The answer, according to the British sexual health charity,FPA.org.uk, is that “You may be advised to avoid sex until the warts have cleared up. This is mainly to protect the treated area of skin from friction and to help it heal.
Using condoms may help to prevent the spread of the genital wart virus if they are used while the warts are present and for the first three months after the warts have gone.”
The CBCD agrees, and therefore advises that people wait to have sex until after genital warts are no longer present. One thing the CBCD stresses and that everyone should remember, is that there are no FDA approved treatments in the United States that actually kill the genital wart virus that causes genital warts once a person is already infected.
A healthy immune system is a person’s top defense against genital warts. The good news is that the CDC says, “In 90% of cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV naturally within two years.”
Nevertheless, clearing the genital wart virus does not mean the virus goes away. It just means that your immune system is sturdy enough to prevent the virus from causing a disease. The virus itself knows this and lodges itself in one of the body’s organs in what scientists call a latent infection. When a virus is latent, it is hidden. An undermined immune system, however, allows the HPV virus to “wake up” and become active again.