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One of the reasons that the question still persists regarding whether or not HPV goes away on its own is that the answer is both yes, and no. Each of these answers depends upon numerous factors including some understanding of the medical aspects of virus.
The body is truly incredible when one stops to think of all the functions it carries out at any given moment, all acting in conjunction with one another. It would be wrong to simply state that in the majority of cases the body’s immune system will rid itself of the virus. And yet many doctors and nurses do say this, usually as the result of misunderstanding the virus themselves.
When it comes to the immune system, there is a general lack of knowledge regarding the body’s tumor suppressor proteins.
It would actually be more correct to say that the virus never truly leaves.
HPV, which is short for human papillomavirus, was actually discovered as the cause of cervical cancer in 1983 by Professor Harald zur Hausen, MD. Dr. zur Hausen had been studying HPV, which is named in sequence of its finding (come to be known as strain) and took quite a number of years before he discovered the first HPV strains associated with cancer.
It was during 1983 that his research lead to the discovery of HPV16, which was found to be present in 50 percent of the cervical cancer cells which he was studying. A year later, he discovered HPV18 which was shown to exist within yet another 20 percent of these cancer specimens.
Today, these two HPV strains alone, 16 and 18, are known to be responsible for a total of 70 percent of all cervical cancers. HPV16 and HPV18 are also known to be responsible for 90 percent and more of anal cancers.
It now becomes important to understand how the body responds when introduced to the HPV virus. The tumor suppressor proteins contained by the body are referred to as p53 and pRb. p53 is the most commonly mutated tumor suppressor protein involved in cancer.
Such is the case with cancers involving HPV as well. These tumor suppressor proteins were only discovered in the late 1970’s, a few short years before the discovery of HPV16.