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National Cervical Cancer Coalition


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 Post subject: How long HPV undiagnosed
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:24 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:03 pm
Posts: 2
Location: usa
I have read things on ASHA and CDC that HPV can go undiagnosed for "many years". Is it possible for it to go undetermined for 27 years? For example, a couple has been married 27 years, the woman has received periodic pap test. A pap test now shows HPV for the first time and a cervical biopsy check is being done. It is 100% certain that one of the people have had another sexual partner in the past 27 years or is it possible that HPV was contracted in excess of 27 years ago by one of them and just now showing up?

I need to know if it is a 100% certain.

thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:14 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Yeah, that's hard to answer. I think most experts would agree any time-frame you mention is certainly possible with HPV, but the harder question to answer might be just how likely it is. I know there are studies (and I can't quote them off the top of my head, unfortunately) that conclude people can go many years, a decade or two, so it's not out of the question. Remember, too, that a Pap test does NOT look for HPV, and can only find cell changes caused by the virus. So, a woman with HPV but no corresponding cell changes to her cervix will have a normal Pap test result.

To be sure, it's not typical for HPV to persist for many years, but as we age our immunity might fall off a bit, which might allow latent infections to emerge. I'm sorry for not being able to offer a more substantial answer, but I hope this helps some.

Best,
Fredo

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:31 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:03 pm
Posts: 2
Location: usa
So, it is not possible to assign odds to the situation. But it is possible that either the male or female contracted HPV in excess of 27 years ago and it was latent or dormant in either the male or female for some period of time. The female could have had HPV for an undetermined time which did not cause cell changes so it was not detected on prvious PAP's over the years. Now, for whatever reason, aging or stress, etc., it has now caused cell changes so the PAP result indicated cell changes which then resulted in the doctor performing a HPV test which showed positive. There is no way to know for 100% certain what the upper limit is.


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