Genital Warts (GW)
These are also quite common and are caused by a virus (HPV). Genital warts are soft, moist and flesh coloured and appear in the genital area. They sometimes appear in clusters that resemble cauliflower-like bumps, and can be raised, flat, small or large. Genital warts can show up in women on the vulva and cervix, and inside and around the vagina and anus. In men, genital warts can appear on the scrotum or penis or around the anus.

Unfortunately GW can be transmitted by oral, vaginal and anal sex – or even just skin to skin contact. If you think you have them, you can be examined and treated at GUM (any age) or Brook (under-25s).

Sometimes this has no symptoms, but can cause burning pain when peeing; itching; redness; or swelling. It can also cause a discharge (yellow/green pus) to come out of the penis or vagina. It is transmitted by oral, vaginal or anal sex and can also infect the throat. It can be treated with antibiotics.

Genital Herpes is a virus causing painful sores or blisters in the genital and anal area. It is a similar virus to the one that causes ‘cold sores’ round the mouth. Once you have caught Genital Herpes the virus will stay in your body and genital sores can come back from time to time. Repeat sores are usually smaller, not as painful and clear up more quickly than the first ones. Treatment aims to ease the pain and discomfort of the sores but it does not cure the virus.