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National Cervical Cancer Coalition


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2007 2:35 pm
Posts: 2
Hello. Male, 22 years old, physically active and in good health, although probably not the best diet. I had sex with a girl a few times over a week period. About one year later she found out she had cervical cancer and told me (at age 19… I thought that was very young!?). I didn’t know much about it at the time and didn’t realize the connection to HPV and the possibility that I could have contracted it. Slightly over 2 years after I had sex with the girl who got cervical cancer, I began having sex with my current girlfriend. I just found out recently about the connection b/w HPV and cervical cancer and the possibility I could be carrying HPV. I’ve done a ton of research into it out of fear but remain uncertain. I informed my girlfriend of the possibility that I could be carrying HPV. She just went in and had her yearly Pap test done and did an HPV test too to see if she had HPV. The HPV test came back negative (as did all the other std/virus type tests they do) but her pap test came back abnormal with ASC-US (She’s never had an abnormal pap before). We were both a bit confused & scared by these results, and when she called to follow up they doctor told her to come back in a year and that her tests were considered “normal or negative”, unfortunately when she called she did not tell the nurse that she is potentially at a higher risk for contracting HPV. Here are my questions, please help!:


1) I have found information stating that, in most cases, the body tends to rid HPV within 2 years. However, these studies were all on females. What is the time length that males tend to carry this virus?
2) Is it possible (probable?) that the abnormal pap (ASC-US) is a result of our having sex twice, once approximately 44 hours, and once approximately 42 hours prior to the pap test? I have not seen anywhere on any website statements that sex w/in 48 hours can cause abnormal results ASC-US… but the nurse told my girlfriend that it definitely could have been the cause of the abnormal results. I believe the reason being inflammation?
3) With abnormal results, but negative HPV and all other STD tests, and if it wasn’t caused by the sex, what else could be causing the abnormal ASC-US?
4) Is it possible that the HPV is undetectable, yet causing these cell changes?
5) I am concerned that us having sex at the above-mentioned times may have skewed the HPV test (caused it to come back negative when in fact it was positive). Is this probable?
6) Where should we go from here?

Thank you so much for your time and help. I have been worried sick that I am going to pass something along to the woman I love and my sexual libido has been down a lot lately – I think about myself as a walking killer .
:oops:


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Hello Summertime,

This is how I explained ASC-US in a previous post:
Quote:

Sometimes a Pap test result will say "ASC-US" which stands for Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance. This means that something is causing the Pap test reading to be unclear. Causes can include: a local irritation due to vaginal intercourse, douching, or using tampons 24 hours before the Pap test, yeast infection, HPV, your period, or even a mistake in the preparation of the cell sample. To help sort out these possibilities, another Pap smear may be repeated in several months. Sometimes an HPV DNA test is done along with the Pap. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about follow up.

See more on Pap test readings at http://www.ashastd.org/hpv/hpv_learn_dysplasia.cfm#4.

This is all something to sort out with your provider, to be sure, but we can tell you in very general terms that ASC-US Paps often don't relate to HPV and when they do, it's not unusual for them to self-resolve. If treatment is in fact needed, the treatment and subsequent follow up exams almost always prevent health complications from developing.


A negative HPV DNA means it's very unlikely that HPV caused the abnormal cells detected by the Pap. While anything is possible, HPV in sufficient quantity to cause cervical lesions would almost surely be detected by a specific HPV DNA screening.

Studies are underway to examine just how HPV works with men, but researchers think the virus is usually cleared by the immune response with males, similar to what some other studies indicates with females. There is no magic number, but natural immunity to the virus seems to develop in most cases in 6-24 months. There is no test to prove if one is able to transmit HPV at a given point in time, however.

Hope this helps.

Best,
Fredo

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2007 2:35 pm
Posts: 2
thank u for the response. I feel a bit better. however, I am still a bit unclear, you wrote that the results could be from sex w/in 24 hours... does that mean that within 48 hours (42 and 44) most likely did not cause the ASC-US results?

I have also heard that ASC-US results are becomin more common due to a greater sensitivity (likelihood) by doctors to report a positive in the case that they are uncertain.

Also, is there any data indicating that sex w/in 48 hours can skew the results of an HPV test? If I understand correctly, if they found abnormal cells then they must have gotten a good enough sample to accurately run the HPV.

thank you again so much!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:39 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
It's actually a good idea to avoid inserting anything into the vagina up to 48 hours before a Pap test, but we're not aware of any information that addresses the effect of sex on Pap test specificity at 24 hours versus 48 hours. This is probably less of an issue with HPV tests, which don't depend on the visual quality of the sample.

The ASC-US designation is determined in the lab that reads the specimen and reported to the clinic. Labs also have a system of classification for the quality of the cell sample taken.

Satisfactory for evaluation:
· Sufficient quantity of squamous cells in sample.
· Notation may be made re: presence or absence of endocervical cell samples.
· Partially obscured, but satisfactory: 50-70% of epithelial cells can’t be visualized.

Unsatisfactory for evaluation:
· >70% of cells are obscured and cannot be visualized.
· Specimen rejected/not processed
· Specimen processed and examined, but unsatisfactory for evaluation because of ___________________ (state reason).

Keep in mind that ASC-US Pap test results most often aren't HPV related, and you mention that your partner's cervical HPV test was negative. If she has questions similar to yours, she can ask her healthcare provider if their was an adequate sample both for the Pap reading and HPV DNA test and if they feel comfortable with the results, given those factors.

Fredo

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