A study to estimate the prevalence of upper respiratory tract papillomatosis in patients with genital warts

J Clarke, R M Terry, C J Lacey

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Respiratory tract papillomas are associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6 and 11; these HPV types are also commonly associated with genital warts (condyloma acuminata). Although most commonly seen in young children, the incidence of respiratory tract papillomas in young adults is increasing. It has been postulated that orogenital contact is the means of transmission in this age group. We performed a survey of adults with genital warts to assess the prevalence of respiratory tract papillomatosis in relation to sexual behaviour and other factors. Fifty-three adult patients (35 male, 18 female) with genital warts attending a genitourinary medicine clinic agreed to examination of the mouth and throat, including indirect laryngoscopy. Seventy per cent of the group had participated in oral sex. Two patients (3.8%) had lesions attributable to HPV infection of the oropharynx and larynx (one with laryngeal keratosis, one with papilloma of the pharynx). There was no specific risk factor identified to predict respiratory tract disease. In view of the high infectivity of genital warts, it is interesting to note the low prevalence of oropharyngeal warts in adults indulging in orogenital contact. Since malignant transformation is known in respiratory tract papillomas, we would recommend that any patient with genital warts who develops unexplained hoarseness has a specialist examination of the upper respiratory tract.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-5
Number of pages2
JournalInternational journal of STD & AIDS
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Condylomata Acuminata
  • England
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Papillomaviridae
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Tract Neoplasms
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Tumor Virus Infections

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