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would I ever be able to go on birth control and NOT spread HPV to my partner?

By December 18, 2009 - 8:33am
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Hi everyone, After testing positive for HPV for the past couple of years, I have finally found relief when my doctor told me that I'm negative. However, I do realize that it's a virus and never goes away but rather your body needs to become immune to it/fight it off on its own. So my question is: would I ever be able to go on birth control and NOT spread to virus to my partner? Because right now I'm under the impression that I would never be able to go on birth control without putting my partner at risk.

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This is a great question and one that women are so often unclear on. As Susan said condoms provide some protection, they are about 70% effective against spreading the virus.

I want to give you some information about birth control and HPV that you should consider when deciding to start taking oral contraception.

There is emerging evidence in the literature regarding the correlation between hormonal contraception and cervical dysplasia.

The risk for developing cervical cancer with less than 5 years of hormonal contraceptive use is 10%
With 5-9 years of use the risk increases to 60%
With 10 years of use the risk increases to 120%

The risk declines after discontinuing hormonal contraception and by 10 or more years the risk returns to that of someone who has never used hormonal contraception.
Bottom line is that with increased use of hormonal contraception there is statistically significant risk of developing cervical cancer.

One of the ways in which hormonal contraception impacts HPV and cervical cancer is by increasing estrogen receptor expression in the tissues. HPV 18, one of the strains correlated with cervical dysplasia and cancer, has been shown to directly interact with estrogen receptors whether estrogen was present or not. Also, an in-vitro study showed that estrogen stimulates the growth of HPV positive cervical cancer cells.

The risk factors for developing HPV related cervical dysplasia are:
Oral contraceptive use
Early onset of sexual intercourse (before age 16)
Multiple sexual partners
Unprotected sex and condom use (condoms are only 70% effective against HPV exposure)
Uncircumcised males
Multiple pregnancies
Chlamydia infection
Herpes infection
Low socioeconomic status
Screening Pap smears (lack of)

December 18, 2009 - 9:50pm
HERWriter Guide

Hi kpet8

Thank you for your question and thanks for looking out for your boyfriend.

As you said, HPV probably will remain in your system for life so if and when you do have unprotected sex (even if your paps are fine) you risk transmitting HPV to someone else.

What you can do is continue to use condoms - they have been show to offer some protection but not much - this virus is spread skin to skin, not via body fluids.

Does he know you have HPV? If so and he's ok with unprotected sex, he needs to be aware of his own health and mention it to his doctor during his annual checkup. There is no approved HPV test for men right now and they're risks are minimal compared to women's but there is a very small risk of penile or anal cancers as well as the threat of genital warts. He may have HPV right now too, and not even know it. If you are not his first partner, there's a very high chance that he has been exposed to it already.

If you don't have kids and you want them, you'll ultimately have to have sex without condoms. And therefore the risk of transmission will always be there. You and your partner need to be vigilant about monitoring your health but the majority of men show no ill-health, and live healthy lives with HPV.

Does this help you?

December 18, 2009 - 1:00pm
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