Are anal warts a sign of HIV infection?

Question

Hello, Dr. Feinberg. I've had several HIV tests, and all have come up negative. However, I recently discovered that I have anal warts, and am concerned that if I have been exposed to this STD, then perhaps I have others, too, or even HIV. Are anal warts common among HIV-negative people, or are they more likely a sign of seroconversion? Thanks!

Answer

Anogenital warts are common, period. They're just another STD, and can certainly occur in HIV-s, although I think it was the right thing to do to get an HIV test. You can have the warts treated -- it's easiest to do when they are small, and you should be monitored for their recurrence. Some strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes warts can eventually result in cancer of the rectum (or cervix in women), so it is wise to be monitored periodically by a physician who has expertise in this area.