Is it reasonable to assume that one could be HPV + for 13 or more years and not have any cervical changes? Is it possible to be HPV + for 13 or more years?
Yes, most women who have HPV never have cervical changes detected on Pap tests and, as mentioned in my first post, the virus can exist latently for an unspecified amount of time (potentially years) before any such changes are detected.
Most HPV infections don't persist for many years, and studies show most women who test "positive" for HPV DNA will test "negative" eventually, usually within 6-24 months. Some HPV infections do persist and again, the fact the virus may be suppressed to a latent state while still existing in low levels within deeper epithelial cells (meaning it's not really eliminated), makes the question of "How long have I had this?" hard to nail down for certain.
The question as to how long one may go without cervical changes being detected on a Pap is easier for me to answer than a similar question about HPV tests, though, and I'll see if I can learn more to provide you with better insight.
Thanks for the information re: the research on IBS - very interesting and something about which I have no knowledge. Always good to get new info!
Hope this helps.