Genital warts prevention
Genital warts prevention can be achieved by using two effective methods: condoms and Gardasil vaccine. The most effective way of genital warts prevention, other than being celibate (not having sex) or getting vaccinated (see below) is to use condoms (male or female) every time you have vaginal or anal sex.
Genital warts prevention using condom
If you have penetrative or oral sex, cover the penis with a condom. A dental dam, which is a latex or polyurethane (plastic) square, can be used to cover the anal area or female genitals during oral sex. Dental dams are usually only available at genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics, although your local pharmacist may be able to order some for you.
Do not share sex toys. However, if you do share them, wash them or cover them with a new condom before anyone else uses them.
Following these measures will also help to protect you from getting a number of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
Genital warts prevention using Gardasil vaccine
While vaccination does provide a very good level of genital warts protection, it does not protect against other STIs. Therefore, the procedure should not be seen as a substitute for using a condom.
The Gardasil vaccine provides protection against the main strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that are known to cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
The vaccine is estimated to be 99% effective in preventing genital warts in young men and women. However, after being vaccinated, it is thought that a person’s immunity will gradually start to reduce after six years.
There is a specific schedule for vaccination with Gardasil. The second dose should be given at least one month after the first dose. The third dose should be given at least three months after the second dose. All three doses should be given within a 12-month period.
The vaccination is injected directly into the muscles, either into the upper arm or the thigh.
Common side effects of Gardasil include:
- pain, redness, bruising and swelling at the site of the injection
- flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature and joint and muscle pain