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Good Health with Emily > HPV? 

I've heard a little here and a little there about HPV. How is it spread? How dangerous is it? Is it true that a lot of people have it and have no idea that they do? Is there any cure for HPV?

Thanks!

August 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPitt Dude

You may have already responded to this, but can HPV ever go away on its own? And if you get HPV warts can they resolve without freezing/burning etc or must they always be treated? Thanks Emily!

August 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPharmGirl

Hello Pharmgirl! In some cases, medical experts think that HPV can go away on its own. They are not certain and they do not know if it is certain strains that go away on their own or what. Some research says that an HPV infection can go away within a number of months. The trend for cancerous HPV does seem to be that it lasts longer in the body than non-cancerous forms. Cancer-causing HPV can be in the body for years. Many people may have had HPV and not known it because they had no side effects.

There are a number of variations to HPV infections, which is similar to the flu. Some forms of HPV come and go within a couple of months and it didn’t show any signs of its presence. Other forms will come, provide an outbreak of genital warts, and then leave within a few months to a year. The other forms, like the cancerous strains, will come into your body, wreak havoc via warts, and continue to do so for years, all while setting the body up for cancer in the future. It is really important that if you have ever had HPV that you let your sex partners know because even if you are not showing any warts, you may still have the virus and it could still be contagious.

Well, as far as treatments for HPV outbreaks go, it is recommended by doctors that they be treated. No one has to treat their outbreaks, but they can be quite painful and it is recommended that people who have HPV outbreaks should abstain from sexual activities until the outbreak has disappeared. So, if someone is having an outbreak that is pretty painful and they have a pretty hott sex life, treatment is usually the best option. But no, you don’t have to get treatment. And yes, they can resolve on their own but it could be a few weeks or months until the outbreak and the skin shedding is completely over.

Thank you for that follow up question, Pharmgirl! I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that needed the same clarification that you did. I appreciate your additional questions. ☺
Like Pharmgirl, if any of you have any more follow-up questions about this topic or any of the other ones on this site, don’t be shy! Let me know and I will get back to you with those answers within 2 days. Keep the questions coming! ☺

Your Loving Sex-pert,

Emily

Eao2116@columbia.edu

August 8, 2009 | Registered CommenterEmily Owens

If there's no tests that can see if a man has HPV, how are guys supposed to know whether or not they have it?

August 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCUNY Student

Hello again, CUNY Student!

Unfortunately, guys (and most women) do not know that they have HPV. One of the ways that guys can find out that they have HPV is when they discover they have warts. The outbreak is the most telling way for men to realize that they have HPV. That is one of the reasons why HPV is so scary. On a more positive note, well as positive as HPV can be, the CDC has recommended that it isn't as important to find out IF you have HPV, it is more important to find out WHAT KIND of HPV you have because some are deadly while others go unnoticed and are not as harmful. Unfortunately the most common forms of HPV are those that can cause cancers. Thanks for following this blog and asking some great questions! Keep this community flourishing, everyone! :-)

Your Loving Sex-pert,

Emily

eao2116@columbia.edu

August 16, 2009 | Registered CommenterEmily Owens

Hey Pitt Dude! Thanks for bringing up such an important and misunderstood topic. HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is such a complex STI because next to AIDS it is considered one of the most deadly. It is also very contagious and incurable! There is a lot to be worried about when it comes to HPV.

How is it spread?

You can get HPV if you. . .
Make-out with someone
Touch someone’s genitals with your hands
Give oral sex to someone
Receive oral sex from someone
Have anal sex (giving or receiving)
Have vaginal intercourse (give and/or receive)
. . . with someone who is infected with HPV

It is important to know that if you have HPV, you can still get another strain of it from someone if it is not the same strain as the one you already have. HPV, since it is so contagious, can be spread even if you use protection. HPV is spread through skin to skin contact. That includes the labia, the anus, the scrotum, and the base of the penis are all areas that are not covered by a condom and can spread HPV.

How dangerous is it?

HPV is actually pretty dangerous with respect to physical health. It is dangerous in 3 ways. The first is the fact that certain strains (there are around 30 different ones) can cause cancer. I’m sure many of you out there have heard of Cervical Cancer and how HPV can cause it. There has been a lot of awareness about it and the new Gardasil vaccine over the last few years. Research has found that over 80% of cervical cancer cases are caused by a couple of strains of HPV. What you probably haven’t heard is that HPV also causes anal and penile (of the penis) cancer. So, guys, you are not safe from getting cancer from HPV just because you don’t have a cervix. To get more information about HPV and Gardasil, go to www.gardasil.com

The second dangerous aspect of HPV is that if you have one strain, you can still get another one, or two, or three . . . HPV is a virus, so there is no cure for it. You may have seen commercials advertising Gardasil, the HPV vaccine. This vaccine only protects against certain forms of HPV, but it is ONLY for females, not males, and it doesn’t protect from all of the HPV strains. It also is not a cure for people who already have HPV.

The third danger about HPV is that it is so easily spread! As I said before, there are a number of ways that you can get infected with HPV. Many people do not know they have HPV, and therefore do not know that they may be infecting their partner(s). The reason why a lot of people don’t know they have HPV is because there are very few symptoms when you are infected. Warts are one symptom of having HPV but studies have found that a person can have HPV anywhere from 1 month to 2 years without having any outbreaks. Women can find out if they have HPV by having a Pap smear. Currently there is no test to determine if a man has HPV or not. Do you see why HPV is so dangerous? Not only does it take a while before you even know you have HPV, but there is no way to test (if you are a guy) to see if you have it.

Is it true that a lot of people have it and have no idea that they do?

Yes, it can take anywhere from 1 month to 2 years for a person to experience symptoms (such as genital warts) which is the most obvious indicator that a person has HPV. Also, there is no screening test that can be done to see if a guy has HPV or not. In fact the CDC has estimated that anywhere between 5.5 and 6.2 million Americans become infected with HPV each year. A main contributor of that statistic is how undetectable HPV is without experiencing wart outbreaks.

Is there any cure for HPV?

There is no cure for HPV. It is a virus, so there are treatments and preventative measures, but there is no cure. Some strains of HPV are like the flu. They infect your body and then eventually they leave your body. However, that cannot be said for all strains of HPV. If you experience a wart outbreak there are freezing, burning, and laser procedures that will reduce the size or eliminate the warts. This will not prevent the warts from coming back. There are also topical treatments that can be prescribed by a doctor for at home treatment.

Your Loving Sex-pert,

Emily

eao2116@columbia.edu

October 8, 2009 | Registered CommenterEmily Owens

intriguing. I will pass this info to few of my friends who were heavy smokers and now switched to electronic cigarette.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLukians

freelance writer

March 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMcculloughFreida

I've been gone for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thank you, I will try and check back more often. How frequently do you update your blog? Outdoor Neon Signs

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteroutdoor neon signs

I have a question, if someone is infected with HPV (no outbreak) so there is no indication to warn. They have been having unprotected sex with their partner then he discovers he has HPV, does that mean that his partner (wife) now has it? I mean they have been having unprotected sex for years and now one of them shows signs of warts what are the chances that the other partner already has the virus? Also, the wife tested and she was told she came back negative, I'd there a test that could have been performed to see if she has the virus? She has had abnormal Pap smear in the past but was told it was nothing. Could those have been signs that she has the virus?

Thank you

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBlanco