STDs & Safe Sex

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Genital Warts

What is it?
Genital warts are growths on the skin of the genital area and around the anus. They are caused by certain types of the human papilloma virus (HPV).

There are more than 20 types of HPV that can infect the genital area. HPV can be transmitted either by touching the wart or by sexual intercourse; for this reason, condoms don’t always protect against transmission.

How is it harmful?
Some types have been associated with abnormal cell growth that, if not treated, can lead to cervical cancer.

What are the symptoms?
Most types of HPV have no symptoms, but some cause warts in the genital and/or anal areas of males and females. Warts can be painful and may bleed or discharge pus.

What is the treatment?
Medication may remove the warts. If left untreated, visible warts may resolve on their own, return unchanged, or increase in size and number. Removing warts may not alter the course of infection, make one less contagious, or make one less susceptible to cervical cancer caused by HPV.

HPV Vaccine:
In June, 2006 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an HPV vaccine. The vaccine protects against 2 types of HPV that cause 70% of all cervical cancers (HPV 16 and 18) and 2 types of HPV that cause 90% of all genital warts (HPV 6 and 11). The other types of HPV will NOT be prevented by use of the vaccine.



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STDs: The Low Down

STDs are both common and sneaky. One in two sexually active young people will get an STD by age 25, and most of them won’t even know it. That’s because many STDs do not show any symptoms.

How can I protect against STDs?

Abstinence is the best way to protect against STDs. For those that choose to have sex, practice safe sex. That means that guys should use latex condoms during oral, vaginal and anal sex.

Should I get tested for STDs?

STDs are sneaky — often they don’t cause any symptoms, so many infected teens don’t know they’re infected. Click here to see if you should get tested.

Many Reproductive Health Centers throughout Pennsylvania offer free and confidential STD screenings for teens.

Find a teen-friendly health center near you