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Question : I have been treated for genital warts around my cervix. What is the type of condom to use to protect my partner, a female condom or a regular condom?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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August 16, 2013
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Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. About 30 different types of the virus can be spread through sexual contact. Some types cause genital warts. Other types cause cancer of the cervix, anus and mouth. But most people who are infected with HPV never develop symptoms at all.

Genital warts are very contagious. They are spread through skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner. The risk of developing genital warts is highest if you have sexual contact with someone who currently has genital warts. But just having warts treated does not mean the virus is completely gone. So the infection can still be spread even after the warts are removed.

You can lower your risk of spreading HPV infection to your sexual partners by using condoms. But a condom only protects the areas of skin it covers. Many people with HPV infection have areas of skin not covered by the condom. Your doctor may have only seen genital warts around the cervix. But other areas around your genitals could also harbor the virus.

Female condoms cover more area. It’s possible that they will be more effective than male condoms. But female condoms are more likely to slip out of place.

You should use whichever type of condom is most comfortable for you and your partner. What’s most important is to use a condom every time.

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