Warts going on?
How long do genital warts take to develop?
It usually takes 1-3 months from infection for genital warts to appear, but can take much longer, sometimes even years. Genital warts are pinkish/white cauliflower-shaped lumps that appear on the genital area. They may itch but are usually painless. Not everyone who comes into contact with the virus will get warts.
If you're worried you may have an infection, you can get advice and testing at a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. Services are located attached to or within local hospitals, and are usually separate, discreet departments. GUM consultations are free and confidential, which means that no one will be told about your visit, unless you want them to be.
It is common to feel nervous at the thought of being tested for an infection, but it is important to remember that most infections are easily treatable. Delaying treatment could mean an infection gets worse and other problems could occur.
Tests for infections vary. Some involve taking swabs from the cervix or tip of the penis, others involve taking a urine or blood sample. Before being tested it is usual to see a health adviser who will discuss any concerns, and reassure you about what the tests will involve.
Health advisors at GUM services are very used to seeing young people, and answering any questions they might have. If you are worried you may have been at risk of infection, health advisors will see it as a positive thing that you are looking after your sexual health by going for testing.
To reduce the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection in the future, always use a condom during sex. Dental dams (thin squares of latex) can also be used as a barrier during sex involving contact between the mouth and the vagina, or the mouth and the anus. You may find advice on using condoms and how to put on a condom useful.
If you want to discuss your situation, you can call the Brook Freephone Helpline on 0800 0185 023.
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