Question first -- does anybody have experience with HPV strain typing for men?
I just got diagnosed -- just as I met / started seeing somebody new and really special. Lucky for her, we haven't had any sexual contact yet. I told her day before yesterday, and she has been really supportive and doesn't appear to be going to bolt. She was very understanding because she had an abnormal pap and was initially diagnosed with HPV a couple years back, but it turned out to be a fluke and subsequent testing suggested she was not. So she got the shot and is now vaccinated against 6 and 11 (which account for 90% cases of GW) as well as 16 and 18 (which contribute to 70% of cervical cancer cases).
What she (we, for that matter) want to know is what strain I have. Odds are it is 6 or 11, but I for one want to be sure. My derm (see below for horrible story) has not returned my phone calls about strain typing, and I'm most likely going to a new one for my follow-up screening and treatment.
So, what I'm asking:
1) I have specimens in the lab with which I was diagnosed. They are "dead" -- could they do DNA-typing to identify the strain of virus or will they need a live specimen?
2) If in the best case scenario I don't get any new lesions, could they take a skin biopsy and identify the HPV virus? Or does it have to be a wart?
3) Are there any guys out there who have been successfully "typed" with regard to strain?
4) Am I right about changing derms? Read below
Long story ... long -- sorry:
I'm a 29 y/o straight white male -- educated, professional, moderately successful. I am fastidious about my sexual health -- always use protection, etc. An old partner called me up a couple weeks ago and told me she had an abnormal pap and her gynecologist found warts. So, naturally, I go into panic mode give myself a rigorous examination, a spot on the top of my penis just below the head -- not even what I would call a "bump:" two conjoined freckles 1 mm in diameter each (non-raised) and a speck about a cm away -- that I was 99.9% sure wasn't there a month ago.
I go to my PCP, and he says they don't look like any wart he's ever seen, but I say take them and biopsy them anyway. He does -- taking the two "freckles" and leaving the "speck." They test positive for being venereal warts (sounds lests horrid -- I just can't bear to say GW, even now). So I come back, he cuts the speck off, examines me pretty thoroughly, and finds a spot on the underside, which he cuts off and sends for biopsy. It comes back positive as well, and since this third spot is next to a pattern of Fordyce spots (which I have had since puberty), he referred me to a dermatologist for more screening and treatment.
I'm freaking out at this point, and I go to the derm who can get me in first. I go, and I see a female PA -- and she was HORRIBLE. Not a great understanding of the condition and definitely with an axe to grind about HPV. She scolded me for catching it in the first place, said I would without question infect everybody I am ever with for the rest of my life (I guess that is right from a certain point of view, but I also understand that is a risk that is always present but minimized with the use of protection, absence of lesions, and inacitivity of the virus, etc.), and was generally not very helpful and compassionate. Next, she proceeded to freeze the crap out of just about every possible wart / Fordyce spot / hair follicle on the underside of my penis indiscriminately. Seriously, she's supposed to be an EXPERT; if it's like that I'll just steal the cryocan and do it myself
I'd rather be safe than sorry, but looking at the frostbitten spots I've got with HAIR growing out of them, I dont' get the sense she knows what she's doing. Plus, she couldn't really give me any insight of what to look for myself -- i.e. what is the difference between a lesion, a follicle, and a Fordyce spot -- which is important for me because my "warts" didn't look like "warts" and initially fooled my PCP?
Speaking of which, my PCP was really supportive, but I don't get the sense that this derm/PA doesn't understand the virus and stigmatizes those who suffer for it. Am I being hypersensitive, or do I have a point?