Thanks for the response and for the clarity. I must say that your answer took me by surprise. ASHA's own website has a link to a video for health care professionals about how to talk to their patients about HPV (http://www.ashastd.org/TalkAboutHPV/TalkAboutHPV.htm
). In this video, it is stated that "Most sexually active couples share HPV until the immune system eliminates
the virus" and that "When HPV infection goes away,
the immune system remembers that HPV type..."
I don't think I'm being too critical here. Why on earth would ASHA instruct doctors to use language such as "goes away" and "eliminate" if in fact, there is no conclusive evidence that any HPV infection ever completely leaves the body?? Furthermore, everywhere I look, experts refer to HPV infections that DO remain an issue after two years as Ã¢â‚¬Å“persistentÃ¢â‚¬Â infections, distinguishing them from ones that get "cleared". The implication has always seemed to be that if you acquire HPV, you have a 90% chance to clear it completely
and a 10% chance of it remaining ANY issue after two years time. If this isn't really the case, then such language is very misleading, particularly since, as you've pointed out, Fredo, health care professionals usually err on the side of caution and are very conservative in their answers to patients whenever there is room for doubt!
I understand your need as a moderator here to err on the cautious side as well, but do you get the impression that MOST researchers "off the record" feel that transmission chances are remote after a negative DNA test? Finally, have there been any studies where an HPV-positive patient tests negative at the 24-month mark, then tests positive again in the future for the SAME type of HPV and WITHOUT further sexual contact?
Thanks again for your time and for fielding such tough questions!