[Question #1213] hpv question 2

84 months ago
Dear Experts ,

I asked a question about HPV and anal fissures two days ago, I have just another question. Me and my girlfriend we both got the vaccine as our Doctor advised anyways.

After the vaccine, she developed a bit fever and injection site pain for the rest of the day. Would this mean that she was not already infected (hence immune) to certain strains in the vaccine and hence her body reacted or she still could have already been infected ?


H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
84 months ago
I'm sorry to see you remain anxious about HPV. You shouldn't be.

Pain at the injection site is expected. Otherwise, the HPV vaccine is totally without side effects. Not sure what to make of "a bit of fever" -- but if she just felt "feverish" and didn't take her temperature, or if she did and it was normal, it is meaningless and nothing to worry about. Any reactions or side effects have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not someone previously was infected with HPV.

Frankly, I would not have recommended HPV immunization, assuming you and your girlfriend are committed and expect to be monogamous for the long term. But if those factors aren't certain, it made sense. Either way, do your best to move on. HPV is not an important issue in your life at this point. Stop worrying about it.


84 months ago
Thanks Dr.Handsfield

I understand your point and honestly I am not much anxious about this, it is just that on this occasion I am trying to educate myself. The Doctor convinced us for vaccine. I hope our relation continues but I did have this hope a couple of times in my previous relationships so I guess it was a good decision.

few general question, I read that many disinfectants would not kill these viruses and as well that these viruses have been collected from people hands.

Would washing with soap clear these viruses ?
would bleach clear them ?
I am thinking swimming pools and saunas could in fact have many of these viruses hanging there, is that true ?

is there any specific advice on hygiene that you may have with regards to hpvs ?


H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
84 months ago
Don't believe everything you can find on line. If you stick with professionally run sites (e.g. academic, public health) and avoid those run by interest groups, you'll have less risk of finding misinformation. I am unaware of any disinfectants that do not render HPV non-infectious and soap and water is an excellent preventive. Whatever the biological reasons, nobody ever gets HPV by environmental contact or exposure, in bathrooms, via swimming pools, through towels, shared eating or drinking utensils, etc. No intimate personal contact (i.e. sex) means no risk for HPV. In other words, I have no hygienic advice at all. Just do what everybody should do, like hand washing after using the bathroom -- even though failure to do so will put nobody at risk. (Bathroom hygiene is designed to prevent colds, intestinal infections, etc. It has nothing to do with prevention of any STD.)

83 months ago
Thanks a lot Dr.Handsfield,

Thank you for not closing my threat so I can ask one other question.

I have read that only about 50% of hpv 16s will clear; as well, that hpv 16 is the most common between all hpv's, and have no symptoms, and as well that the hpv is the most common STI.These make hpv 16 most common STI actually.

I learned that there are currently different methods of testing including serology and PCR pap smear that are used for women. and in fact in research application they are used for men too.

My question are:

1- Why there is no test approved for men for such common STI that has no visible symptoms ? what is keeping FDA from approving the test for men ?

2- If somebody gets symptomatic strains i.e. warts, should they be assumed to be exposed to hpv 16 as well by probabilities ?

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
83 months ago
Once again you seem to have found misinformation online (that only 50% of HPV16 infections are cleared). I have never heard such a figure; it's probably closer to 90% or even higher.

As you apparently know, there is no standard, FDA-approved HPV blood test, for HPV16 or any other type, in either women or men. While some websites may offer such tests, reliability is in question for any test not approved by FDA. That tests are used in research doesn't necessarily mean they have sufficient reliability or value to be used in day to day patient care.

1) This is a complex issue, but the bottom line is that a negative result for HPV (blood test, PCR, or any other) never rules out infection, and telling someone s/he has a negative result may result in false reassurance, which can be harmful (e.g. increased tendency to ignore a lesion that might in fact require treatment). Equally important, postive blood test results may be false, leading to unnecessary worry. Most important, at the current state of understanding, nothing can be done for a positive result without symptoms. This could change in the future with improved tests and/or evidence that early diagnosis of asymptomatic infection has any prevention value. But at this time it doesn't. As for FDA approval per se, it isn't their responsibility. A test manufacturer has to develop a test, evaluate it, then submit an application to FDA for approval. And apparently no companies have done that. (And as already noted, I am unaware of an FDA approved blood test for women.)

2) People with any documented HPV infection probably are at increased risk for having other types. However, it certainly is not reasonable to assume that someone with genital warts should be assumed to have HPV16.

I hope this also has helped clarify things. Best wishes and stay safe.