Who is affected by warts

Warts are common.

  • Up to 10% of children and young adults have some type of nongenital wart.1
  • Plantar warts are most common among children and young adults, especially those who live together and share common bathing areas (such as college or boarding school students, gym members, or people in the military).
  • New warts generally do not appear in older adults who have never had them before.

Genital warts

  • In the United States, it is estimated that 1% of sexually active men and women between the ages of 18 and 49 have external genital warts.2
  • More than half of middle-aged people in the United States have some evidence—such as antibodies—of having been infected.3
  • It is estimated that about 40% of sexually active adolescent girls are infected with the virus that causes genital warts (human papillomavirus).4


  1. Androphy AJ, Lowly DR (2008). Warts. In K Wolff et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 7th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1914–1923. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.
  2. Buck HW Jr (2007). Warts (genital), search date February 2007. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence. Also available online: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
  3. Wiley DJ, et al. (2002). External genital warts: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 35(Suppl 2): S210–S224.
  4. American Academy of Pediatrics (2003). Human papillomavirus. In LK Pickering, ed., Red Book: 2003 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 26th ed., pp. 448–451. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

Last Updated: September 11, 2008

Author: Caroline Rea, RN, BS, MS

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology

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