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ask: Can HPV go away on its own?

By Anonymous
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I was just diagnosed as being positive for HPV and will have a culposcopy in a few days. I've done some research and have read that once you have HPV that it will never go away. But I asked the nurse at my doctor's office and she said that in some cases, the HPV will just go away and your body will recover on its own. If that's the case, how often does that occur? What are my chances that my HPV will just eventually go away?

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Bonnie Diraimondo RN

First off I would express concern that you did not have a Pap for 9 years while glad that nothing negative occurred, i.e. invasive cancer as a result. I fail to understand your confusion and why you think there could be some mistake in your results. HPV is known to go dormant for months, years or decades. This does not mean you no longer have the virus but simply that it is not active at this time. You do not mention your age but particularly after 30 I suggest you become more vigilent regarding your Paps and also requesting the HPV test regardless of the Pap results. paps are known to show negative but HPV precancerous lesions still present so you do not want a reflexive test which means it is only done if the pap is abnormal. You are probably too old to receive the vaccine which given your prior dignosis your doctor should have recommended before you turned 27 or you should have requested it. Given the numerous strains of HPV the vaccine could have protected you against the two major cancer causing strains but not at this point unfortunately. Hopefully all future paps and HPV tests will remain negative.

January 19, 2012 - 9:00pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Bonnie Diraimondo RN)

I'm almost 30 now, and never once have the doctors recommended the vaccine even after being diagnosed with HPV. Also shortly after having the my child I was diagnosed with Lupus, with has taken a toll on my body and mind; which caused the lack of pap smear checks and lack of insurance. After the pap smear, I did ask the doctor if there is any results of having HPV. Should have the pap smear re-done to check further into the results of having HPV, or wait till my next womanly check up which is in 3 years?

January 26, 2012 - 10:29am
EmpowHER Guest

I was diagnosed with HPV back in 2001, months after the birth of my first child. Decide to have an annual pap smear check in 2010, with the result of not having any evidence of having HPV. Please explain this to me, is there any mistake of this result?

January 19, 2012 - 8:23am
Bonnie Diraimondo RN

No you don't have to be abstinent for two years but I'd suggest you read further back in this post in general as many of your questions are answered there. HPV is also carried in the blood and various other bodily fluids so even if your first I wouldn't definitely attribute your HPV to him especially since you indicated you are a recovering addict. It woudl be recommended to use condoms even if this is a  monogomous relationship as HPV existts in the seminal fluid and you can have your viral load increased with continued exposure to his seminal fluid which at some point could result in recurrence if your immune system can no longer handle the amount of virus in your body. No HPV doesn't make you feel like you have a cold all the time but that can indicate that your immune system isn't at its best. Also as far as the previous comment about looking for symptoms such as genital warts, these are only symptoms of the low risk HPV not high risk HPV. Genital warts are caused by low risk types six and eleven. High risk HPV typically has no symptoms which is why screening and follow up is so important. There currently is no commercial test for men and again if the virus is dormant at the time of testing it will show negative anyway so it can be deceptive. HPV can affect the vagina, vulva and anus as well in addition to oropharyngeal cancers generally occurring in men believed to be the result of oral sex. I can't really give you advice on how to tell him as men react differently depending on their understanding of the virus to begin with. One woman's boyfriend beat her to unconsciousness so I wouldn't want to intervene in this arena but I do believe that any partner does have a right to know they have been exposed to a cancer causing virus don't you?

January 2, 2012 - 12:04pm

Dear all,

It was just recently that I got my PAP test abnormal and findings was CIN 1. Good thing I found this site. I
Am really scared. I have had a few sexual relationship within 2 yrs and I believe this is how I got it. Given the fact, I was in an on-off or non labelled kind of relationship with a guy I met a little over a yr ago and I'm not sure if he is the one who I got this from. He lives overseas and just recently we decided to start a real exclusive relationship. I plan to see him this mid- March. Does that mean I could not have any intimate moment with him during that time? Also, I really don't know how to bring this topic up to tell him about HPV. Im so scare, pls let me know your thoughts. I don't want to lose him and I really am afraid to tell him.

December 31, 2011 - 7:26pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you bonnie and susan i appreciate it Hope you have a Great Xmas :).

December 22, 2011 - 10:52pm
Bonnie Diraimondo RN

Many of the answers to your questions depend largely upon whether you are dealing with low risk (genital warts) or high risk (cancer causing) HPV strains. All of the above that you mentioned are possible.

Contributory factors such as smoking, early onset sexual intercourse, multiple partners generally increase the risk for chronic infection. Also even if the two of you both have HPV it is especially important that the couple use condoms. One might wonder why if you are in a monogomous relationship and the answer is that HPV is contained within the man's semen. This can result in an increased viral load for the woman and one which could potentially push her immune system over the edge in handling the virus if that makes sense. I hope it does. No it isn't pleasant to need to be using condoms especially in a monogomous relationship but it could also prevent you from having to confront more severe HPV lesions and possibly cancer. Hope this helps.


December 22, 2011 - 7:28pm
EmpowHER Guest

Question....if we breakout once and goes away does it mean the breakout will come back again sometime in the future for sure? Or could we just always be infected with no breakouts? Will our partner get any infection in the mouth through oral? Also...if we both have it will it make anything worse if we continue to have sexual contact like will the hpv get worse while having sex if we are both already infected?

December 16, 2011 - 8:51pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Thanks for your question.

It is common for an outbreak of genital warts to signal to a person that they have HPV. Once treated, it' also common for that outbreak to be the only one in a person's lifetime, due to the body's ability to suppress the virus even though it does not rid itself of it completely. But if a person becomes unwell or has a compromised immune system, another outbreak can happen. The more healthy a person is, the less likely a second (or more) outbreak is likely to happen although of course, there are no guarantees.

I hope this helps and thank you for writing.


December 22, 2011 - 12:12pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have had HPV since the age of 14 now Im 25 and there are times when I show no signs for months but then here is comes again , I have learned that it will always be there however, I can control it. My partner of 2 1/2 years hasnt contracted it bc I dont have intercourse with him during my outbreak.... Things could be worse believe me. Signs are itching burning bumps in some cases but not all. It is nothing to be ashamed of some of us caught it due to other people. Just be sure to keep all doctors visits and have random pap smears. Thanks

December 16, 2011 - 8:39pm
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