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Ask a Skin Specialist: AnoGenital Warts

Dear Doctor

Hello Doctor, I have two questions:

1. What are the chances that a child with ano-genital warts was sexually abused?

2. How are ano-genital warts treated in children?

Thank you for your response.

skin of color diseases

Dear Patient

Sexual Abuse and AnoGenital Warts in Children

A diagnosis of anogenital warts in children has serious implications since 31-58% of cases are due to sexual abuse.

Since the rest of warts in the anus, penis, scrotum and vulva in children arise from non-sexual contact, all children with these lesions should be referred to a child abuse specialist for further evaluation.

This non-sexual contact can include contact with a household member or transmission at birth or auto-inoculation from warts on other parts of the child’s body like their hands.


Treatment of AnoGenital Warts in Children

The treatment of ano-genital warts in children is controversial since on one hand it has a failure rate of around 25-50%.

On the other hand most cases (around 67%) of ano-genital warts in children resolve without treatment.

Therefore, many doctors opt to watch and wait.

Those who choose to treat use cauterization (burning), cryotherapy (freezing) and laser ablation.

Children with ano-genital warts should also be referred to a pediatric dermatologist for follow up since they are at increased risk for developing cancers.


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