I had posted some questions last month regarding a video that is available on ASHA's website, geared toward health care professionals and how they can best communicate with 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 and keeps a new infection of the same type from occurring again."
My first question dealt with the language that was used in the video when it states that the immune system "eliminates" the virus. As we've discussed, there are different opinions among researchers as to whether or not HPV really does go away completely. Considering that doctors usually err on the side of safety when there is room for doubt and give conservative answers to patients, it surprises me that ASHA would present a video that instructed doctors to use such a definitive sounding term like "eliminates," giving the impression that HPV will most often go away completely. Your thoughts?
Second, is it true that the immune system keeps people from contracting the same HPV type twice? I have never heard this before; in fact, my doctor has suggested that researchers are confused as to whether "persistent" HPV infections are in fact, RE-infections of the same type!
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!