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What Can You Take to Prevent Genital Warts Outbreaks?

November 5, 2015

No medications are available which can prevent outbreaks or recurrences of genital warts.

People who have HIV may be able to reduce their risk of outbreaks by taking antiretroviral therapy, which strengthens the immune system.

Some people believe that improving diet, reducing stress, avoiding smoking and getting enough sleep may help improve immune function and therefore help prevent outbreaks. But this has not been scientifically demonstrated.


Outbreaks of Genital or Anal Warts

Genital warts are caused by infection with a virus known as human papillomavirus (HPV). While the warts themselves can be removed, no treatment or cure exists for the viral infection itself. Even if you no longer have the warts, the virus may still be active. New outbreaks or recurrences of genital or anal warts are therefore possible.

Even following treatment, genital warts commonly recur, especially in the first three months after treatment. If you have HIV and a low CD4 cell count (a weakened immune system), this is especially likely. Taking and adhering to antiretroviral therapy may help prevent future outbreaks.

There is no cure for HPV, but genital warts can be treated by removing the warts. Some treatments need to be administered by a healthcare provider, while others are creams that you apply yourself. Those only available with a doctor's prescription are more effective than those that can be purchased over the counter.

More on Genital Warts and HPV at

To find out more about HPV and genital warts, we recommend the following articles:

In addition, our Q&A experts sometimes address questions about HPV and genital warts in our "Ask the Experts" forums. Here are some of those questions and our experts' responses:

  • Can Gardasil help?
    My HIV-positive boyfriend has anal warts. Doctors are recommending supplements and cauterization, but could Gardasil also serve as a treatment?
  • How to treat warts?
    I have HIV and anal/genital warts. What can I do to make them go away? Cryotherapy didn't work.

Copyright © 2015 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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