ZocdocAnswersJust been told I have HPV - what's next?

Question

Just been told I have HPV - what's next?

Lesions are there in opn to vagina.. Vinegar test confirm lesions... So no more sex?

Answer

I am sure that you are aware that HPV is an acronym that stands for Human Papilloma Virus. As a member of the papilloma family of viruses, it will only infect the keratinocyte cells within the epidermis or mucosa of the body. A papilloma is an overgrowth of what are usually normal cells of the skin or mucosa. There are many different (30 to 40) types of the HPV virus, and some of them cause warty growths (papillomas), while others can lead to dysplastic change which can ultimately lead to cervical cancer. There are HPV strains that have been implicated in the formation of cancers in other locations within the body as well (tonsil cancer and cancer of the base of the tongue for example). The HPV virus is typically transmitted sexually. There was a vaccine invented called Gardasil that protects a non-exposed host from HPV strains 16 and 18 which contribute to the formation of most cervical cancers. It is usually HPV type 6 and 11 that cause most genital warts. Like most viral infections, the virus is typically never completely removed form the body. Rather when it flares up , the immune system fights it until the numbers are controlled and the host becomes asymptomatic again. However, in the future it is possible for it to reactivate and cause an active infection again. There is no widely used treatment for HPV, as the virus is usually fought by the immune system. Genital warts can be removed by a specialist if needed, but they may recur if the virus becomes active. People with HPV do continue to have intercourse, however the partner should be appraised of the risks, and to decrease the risk of transmission, protection should be used. For more specific information, I would recommend making an appointment with your OB/GYN to discuss it.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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