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Should I be afraid of contracting HPV?

By June 5, 2011 - 12:20pm
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I know there are many repeat questions about HPV, but I haven't been able to find answers to my specific questions.

My boyfriend and I have been together for 4 years, and he told me from the very beginning that his ex-girlfriend was diagnosed with high-risk HPV. Upon hearing this, I went ahead and got vaccinated with Gardasil just a few months later. We've never had sexual intercourse, although he has performed oral sex on me (I've never performed oral sex for him). I'm at a point where I don't want to be afraid of sex or oral sex anymore, but I keep having visions of myself in my 40s or 50s, battling cervical or oral cancer and regretting my decisions.

My question: Is high-risk HPV still contagious from a man to a woman at least 4 years after originally being contracted?

Thanks for your time :)

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Hi Melissa,

Since there are no HPV tests available for men, a visual inspection would be the only way to diagnose them. I would say it's safe for you to have sex with your boyfriend because HPV goes away on its own 90% of the time. As Alison suggested, the use of a condom is best to prevent any STD's and Pregnancy. You did the right thing by getting vaccinated and taking proper precautions :)


June 6, 2011 - 7:45am

This is an excellent question! It seems as information regarding HPV is constantly changing, as new information becomes available, so I will do my best to answer your question (and verify with other Moderators as well).

Most sexually active people have HPV--upwards of 80% or more of the sexually active population. Most people do not know they have been infected with HPV, as their body clears up the virus with no signs or symptoms.

If your male partner has a healthy immune system, his body has most likely cleared up the HPV virus (viruses are never 100% extinct from our bodies, but our immune systems suppress viruses so they do not cause disease or symptoms).

As far as being contagious...that I am less clear about. From my understanding, he would not be contagious if his body has suppressed the HPV and he has no visible signs (genital warts, for example). It is best to use a condom to prevent the spread of any sexually transmitted diseases or infections...is this an option for you?

You can read more about HPV: http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv-and-men.htm.

I will run this question by other experts regarding your specific question on period of time HPV may be contagious.

June 5, 2011 - 9:12pm
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