Genital warts are very common and look like small fleshy growths or bumps. They can appear on or around the genital or anal area. They are the result of a viral skin infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Usually they are painless and aren’t a serious threat to health. Genital warts are spread by skin-to-skin contact. This could be during vaginal or anal sex and you can also contract them by sharing sex toys.
It can take a long time, sometimes years for warts to develop after infection with HPV. This means if you're in a relationship and you get genital warts, it does not necessarily mean your partner has had intercourse with someone else.
Although warts are most likely to be transmitted to others when they are present it is still possible to pass the virus on before the warts have developed and after they have disappeared. Please bear in mind that condoms may not always provide protection as it is possible for the skin around your genital area not covered by the condom.