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Your healthcare provider usually diagnoses genital warts by seeing them.
If you are a woman with genital warts, you also should be examined for possible HPV infection of the cervix. Your healthcare provider can diagnose HPV infection based on results from an abnormal Pap smear, a primary cancer-screening tool for cervical cancer or pre-cancerous changes of the cervix. In some cases, a healthcare provider will take a small piece of tissue from the cervix and examine it under the microscope.
Another test to diagnose HPV infection detects DNA from the virus, which may show possible infection.
Your provider may be able to identify some otherwise invisible warts in your genital tissue by applying vinegar (acetic acid) to areas of your body that might be infected. This solution causes infected areas to whiten, which makes them more visible.
Last Updated October 20, 2010