HPV Treatment

Treatment for Genital Warts

For people with genital warts, the primary goal of treatment is to eliminate warts that cause physical or psychological symptoms.

Genital warts may be new, recurrent or have been present for many years. 

No one treatment is superior to the others, and no single treatment is suitable for all patients or all warts.

The health care provider should provide information about all the treatment options (including no treatment) in order for an informed decision to be made about the preferred choice for removing the genital warts.

The type of HPV treatment will be decided on based on a number of factors such as patient preference, available resources and the experience of the health practitioner. Other factors include the size, number and location of the genital warts, age and pregnancy.

All treatment options currently available in New Zealand involve some drawbacks, such as pain, possible scarring, and expense. Additionally, some of the warts which were cleared initially may in some people have recurrences which means going back for further treatment. 

If there is no significant response to the HPV treatment within 4–6 weeks, an alternative diagnosis, change of treatment modality, or onward referral should be considered.

Whatever the treatment option is, here are some important points to remember:

  • It is advisable to seek medical advice before starting treatment for genital warts.
  • Ask the doctor for an explanation of the treatment, including the costs and likely benefits as well as any side effects.
  • Be sure to understand the follow-up instructions, such as what to do about discomfort and when to seek help.
  • Be patient – treatment often takes several visits and a variety of approaches.
  • If pregnant, tell the doctor so they can choose the right treatment.
  • Don’t use over the counter treatments which are not specifically for genital warts (for example remedies for warts on the feet or hands). These are not meant for sensitive genital skin and can do more damage to your skin.
  • It is recommended to avoid sexual contact with the infected area during treatment, to protect the treated area of skin from friction and help it heal.
  • If warts are in the pubic region, avoid shaving or waxing as this may cause further spread of the HPV genital warts into small areas of cut skin.

Please read on for more information about treating genital warts, including the options for home treatment, cryotherapy (freezing off the warts) and non-treatment.

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HPV Project New Zealand

The NZ HPV Project is supported by: 

  • An educational grant from New Zealand District Health Boards
  • CSL Biotherapies Ltd NZ for an educational grant contributing to optimisation.

Brought to you by the Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation (STIEF). 

For information or advice on where to seek help, please get in touch.

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New Zealand HPV Project
C/- Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation Inc (STIEF)

PO Box 2437, Shortland Street,
Auckland 1140, New Zealand

[email protected]

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If calling from mobile: 09 433 6526

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