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National Cervical Cancer Coalition

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 Post subject: Studies of transfer
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 12:27 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:38 pm
Posts: 3
Has there been anything tested that has shown that once you are wart free for 1-2 years (as many forums have suggested) that you are less likely to pass on HPV? This whole "mysteriously absorbs" idea puzzles me. My boyfriend and I have not had sex as we are both waiting for marriage. An unfortunate incident put me in this position with HPV. I'm scared to death to tell him, but I'm hoping the more I know and the more I can put my own mind at ease the more I'll be able to put his mind at ease.

I would think that with 75% of sexually active people encountering HPV that scientists would have been able to find a way to test and pinpoint when the virus is contagious. Why in this day and age is this such a mystery?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:28 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Hi Melissa,

Welcome to our message boards. Here is a reply I wrote for someone who had a question like yours:

Researchers aren't clear just what happens with HPV over time, but the evidence suggests in most cases, the immune system is able to clear/suppress the virus effectively. While there is no way to know if HPV is contagious at a given point, many experts think that for someone who has gone a year or two with no additional signs of skin lesions (like genital warts or cervical cell changes), the risks of transmitting the virus to a new partner are minimal. It's difficult to be more specific than that, though.

Condoms may reduce the risk of HPV infection, but don't offer 100% protection since virus can be on skin that condoms don't cover. Condoms are still a good idea, though, as they are highly effective against a number of STIs and a study published last year (Winer et al.) shows that among young women whose male partners use latex condoms consistently, HPV transmission was reduced by 70%.

The emotional aspects of an HPV diagnosis, for many, are much harder than any medical issues that arise. It's understandable and unfortunate. HPV is very common, with research indicating that the vast, vast majority of sexually active people contract HPV at some point in their lives. The reason you don't hear more about it is that for most of those with the virus, it's "silent" and clears without them ever being aware. Having HPV is in no way a reflection on someone's character or lifestyle. Increasingly, being exposed to HPV is part of being a normal sexually active adult.

I wish there were a more definitive answer we could give you, but I hope this helps. Post again if new questions come up.

All the best,

ASHA Moderator

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