Top Four Strategies to Protect Yourself Against Genital Warts

HPV, or Genital Warts, is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, both in Australia and worldwide. The warts are caused by the HPV virus, which leads to abnormal cell growth, bumpy and cauliflower-shaped growths around the genitals and the anus. There are no other serious side effects to this virus. As it is spread merely by skin-to-skin contact, anyone who is sexually active should know how to guard themselves against the HPV virus.

Get the Vaccine

Yes, there is a vaccine available, but the HPV vaccine only protects you against certain types of HPV. The vaccine, also known as the cervical cancer vaccine, provides immunity against types 16, 18, 6 and 11, with 16 and 18 being the major causes of cervical cancer worldwide (around 70 – 80% of all cervical cancers), while types 6 and 11 is a common cause of genital warts.

The vaccine is most effective if you’re not yet sexually active and is now given to very young girls.

Both men and women can get the vaccine. The latest research confirms that the vaccines are effective for at least 4 – 6 years after administration, but as it is a relatively new vaccine, it remains to be seen whether booster shots are required after the initial three shots.

The vaccine can sometimes cause swelling at the point of injection, headache, nausea and fever, but no serious side effects have been reported. The vaccine is free and administered by the government to school children in Australia but has no effect on people who have been exposed the HPV. If you have already been exposed to HPV, HPV treatment is available to minimise or remove the warts.

Practice Safe Sex

Using condoms reduces your chances of getting the HPV by reducing the amount of direct skin-to-skin contact and minimising fluid exchange. However, it’s important to point out that condoms can’t protect you completely against HPV. The only way to completely avoid HPV is through abstinence. Generally, people are at higher risk even if they use condoms if they have many sexual partners, became sexually active at a young age, have other viral infections such as HIV and herpes, or have compromised immune systems.


The only way to prevent HPV is really to avoid any sort of contact with the virus. This means:

Avoiding skin contact
Avoiding blood contact
Avoiding contact with bodily fluids
If your partner has visible genital warts, it’s advisable that you abstain from sex at least until they have cleared up or completely eliminated. Most sexually active people (four out of five women) will get some form of HPV at some stage in their lives, so always get regular pap smears and periodic checks for HPV.

Proper Nutrition to Boost Your Immune System

Eating well will boost your immune system: as a virus, many HPVs are eventually eliminated by the immune system itself. Weakened immune systems lead to outbreaks or susceptibility to the virus. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, sleep well, avoid high-stress lifestyles, don’t smoke or drink heavily, and take a multivitamin supplement.