Good to hear from you, and glad you're doing well.
1. Are there any statistics about the LEEP's effectiveness -- not only in removing the lesions causing abnormal paps but also in helping to rid the body of HPV? In other words, can a LEEP 'nudge' the body's immune system to rid it of HPV?
LEEP involves using a thin wire loop - through which current is briefly passed - to remove tissue. I mean, it works in getting rid of what they can see and the instrument can access. I don't know if it does anything to provoke an immune response; I've heard that freezing (cryotherapy) can do that because it leaves a reservoir of HPV behind in cells that are treated.
2. My doctor cited how common HPV is, and yet, I wonder why my immune system couldn't battle this. I eat well, exercise and generally have always thought I had a good immune system. I've read that head/neck cancers and other gynecological cancers can be caused by HPV. Should I be having other tests to ensure this hasn't spread beyond my cervix?
3. Is it common to have follow-up LEEPs?
That depends on whether or not the abnormal cells return, if they persist, if they require treatment, and, if so, if LEEP is the appropriate treatment. I don't know how many women need follow up treatment; I suspect it's a minority.
4. Finally -- the most important question perhaps -- prevention! I am not yet married, and most certainly will have at least one more partner. How likely is it that a future partner can re-infect me? I feel like I've gone through this procedure and don't ever want to have to do it again. I know that condoms are not 100% effective and that HPV is generally not detectable in men. I'm optimistic that LEEP will help rid my body of this, but what am I to do in the future?
You probably don't need to worry much about reinfection with the same HPV type, but there are others against which this infection will provide little or no immunity. There's not a lot you can do here, really. Condoms are pretty effective at protecting women against HPV, but as you say not 100% and, honestly, few couples will use condoms forever.
This does point to why it's important for you (and almost every other woman) to have regular Paps (with or without HPV testing) over most of your lifetime.
Keep in touch.