Condyloma refers to wart-like skin growths – usually in the genital, anal, or oral regions but occasionally found in other areas of the body – that are caused by a sexually transmitted infection. The most common type is known as genital warts and is termed condyloma acuminata.
These are caused by an infection with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the same group of viruses that can lead to cervical cancer as well as other oral and anogenital cancers. The prevalence of genital warts in the general population is estimated to be around 3-5%, making it the most common STD globally. See:
Condyloma Acuminata On The Penis
When condyloma acuminata are detected, we must always look for and differentiate these lesions from condyloma lata, which are caused by secondary syphilis infection. These two types of condyloma can appear extremely similar and are easily mistaken for the other.
They may also both be present as a co-infection, seeing as they share common risk factors. It is essential that syphilis infection is considered and tested for when condyloma lesions are found, so that rapid diagnosis, treatment, and partner tracing can be performed.
Condyloma lata of secondary syphilis tend to be slightly larger and more moist than common genital warts, and may even ulcerate in later stages. They are usually found in the anogenital or oral regions, but can also be found sometimes on the palms or soles of the feet. Other signs of syphilis may be a diffuse body rash or a classic painless sore or chancre (seen in earlier stages of primary syphilis).
Both types of condyloma are mainly transmitted through penetrative anal or vaginal sex, as well as oral sex (fellatio and cunnilungus). However, as they can be spread with direct contact with mucosa and/or broken skin, there have even been cases of transmission through mutual masturbation.
If you or your partner noticed any suspicious skin lesions, please visit our doctors for a full consultation and assessment.
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