Background: Genital warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV); over 90% are due to HPV types 6 and 11. We determined the percentage of persons who reported having been diagnosed with genital warts in the United States from 1999--2004.
Methods: We collected genital wart diagnosis history and sociodemographic and sexual behavior data from 8849 sexually active men and women aged 18 to 59 years as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999--2004.
Results: Overall, 5.6% of 18-to 59-year olds reported having ever been diagnosed with genital warts. The percentage was higher in women (7.2%, 95% CI, 6.2%-8.4%) than in men (4%, 95% CI, 3.2%-5.0%). History of genital wart diagnosis peaked among 25- to 34-year-old women (10.4%) and 35- to 44-year-old men (6.0%). Sex, age, race/ethnicity, number of lifetime sex partners, and cocaine/street drug use were associated with genital warts in multivariate analysis.
Conclusions: These are the first national data on the burden of genital warts in the United States. The substantial burden of genital warts could be reduced by a prophylactic HPV vaccine to types 6 and 11.