My 24 year old daughter just tested positive for HPV. We have an appt with her GYN on Monday, but I need to know what questions to ask. She tested negative in January 2009 and has only had one partner since then. Does this mean he could be the one who infected her? Also, do the labs automatically do the DNA testing to find out what strain of HPV she carries? Should this be something we ask for? The doctor told her she wants to go in and look around since the test was positive. I read where most of the time your body fights off the infection and it should be a "wait and see" situation. How do you know when to proceed with a colposcopy or a LEEP? I want to make sure her doctor is appropriately conservative. Please, please give us some guidance. I would also like to know if getting the HPV shots series after this diagnosis would still be beneficial to her. Thank you.
Hi and thanks for posting. HPV is very, very common in young women under age 30, so your daughter's positive HPV test isn't surprising. Women in this age group do tend to clear the infection very fast, so conservative management is often indicated. It isn't clear if you daughter has had an abnormal Pap test: HPV tests are usually done with women under age 30 when there is a borderline or unclear Pap test. With an abnormal Pap and a subsequent positive HPV test, professional guidelines would normally recommend a referral to colposcopy, with management from that point depending on the result.
In women 30 and older who have normal Paps but a positive HPV test...they usually repeat both tests in 12 months and send her to colposcopy if the HPV test is positive. With a woman under 30 in this scenario, though, I don't know what the protocol would be, so it's best referred back to the healthcare provider.
HPV testing most often doesn't try and identify exactly which specific genotype (sometimes referred to as "strain") of the virus a woman might have, usually focusing instead on whether or not a "high risk" type is present. There is a newer test approved for clinical use that can tell if a woman is positive for HPV 16 or HPV 18, respectively, the types most often associated with cervical cancer but here again, its best use is in women 30 and over.
Hard to say how long she may have had HPV, as tests don't measure that.
Please follow-up and let us know how your daughter is doing, and if you (or she) have additional questions.