[Question #1409] HPV

46 months ago
I am  38 year old female. I have always had normal paps. Six months ago my pap was normal but my dr. did HPV test which came back positive for HPV, although not 16 or 18 strain. It is almost impossible for me to have this as I have only been with my husband and he has only been with me. We are religious and I really trust him. Assuming this the only possible means of me contracting this is that I am undergoing fertility treatment and have been having vaginal ultrasounds since dec. of last year (positive test was in may). The probe has always been covered with some kind of latex cover (condom?) and they use a gel but could i have contracted it from this. The only other possible means I i did check my cervical position with my finger (no visible warts) a few times. I also used a washcloth 2 or three times to clean myself internally. May have been shared with my kids but they are not sexually active. The washcloth may have originally come from a hotel but many month before. I am really bothered by how i could have gotten this as I am a person that has no risk of STD due to my hsband and I only being with each other. I just had a retest as my dr. recommended 6 months after the initial. My quesiton is 1) can i have gotten this from the many ultrasounds Ive had? 2) can i have gotten it from my finger or the washcloth even though noone in house sexually active aside fro me and husband . Is it feasible that a washcloth from a hotel could carry HPV on it? 3) Being that Im 38 how likely that it will clear on its own - I am healthy and dont smoke 4) do u think its safe to keep going to the fertility specialist and having ultrasounds done.
Thanks so much 
ST
46 months ago
Forgot to say that I did not get result yet of the Pap and HPV that was done last week
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
46 months ago

Welcome to our Forum.  I will try to help but before I do, let me point out that in virtually all studies of HPV, there are always a small proportion of HPV infections which are not clearly associated with traditional risk factors for infection such as multiple sex partners on the part of one or the other partner.  A small proportion of these infections may have been acquired through some sort of contamination process, by non-penetrative sexual contact with infected persons or may be falsely positive.  Further, while your situation may be different in relationship to your fertility treatments, the presence of HPV without PAP smear abnormalities is not something that would put you at risk for precancerous changes or cancer. 

Your case is complicated further by the fact that apparently the HPV detected in your test is not one of the ones for which your test provides typing.  In my mind this makes me all the more concerned that your result may be falsely positive.  With this as background, let's go to your specific questions:

1) can i have gotten this from the many ultrasounds Ive had?

While spread of infection by ultrasound equipment is reduced by use of the rubber sheath you describe and cleaning from patient to patient, there is a possibility that some contamination might of occurred.  This of course would be quite difficult to prove. 

2) can i have gotten it from my finger or the washcloth even though no one in house sexually active aside fro me and husband . Is it feasible that a washcloth from a hotel could carry HPV on it?

Transfer on a persons hand is certainly a possibility as well although one would need to then consider how it got onto your hand/fingers.  I would not be worried about hotel wash clothes, towels or bedding. 

3) Being that Im 38 how likely that it will clear on its own - I am healthy and dont smoke

With normal PAP smears, your risk of progression is tiny.  The infection may well clear on its own. 

4) do u think its safe to keep going to the fertility specialist and having ultrasounds done.

Yes, there is no reason to stop your fertility evaluation or to change what is done.  your should mention your test results to your Obstetrician if you have not already.

I hope these comments are helpful.  you may never know why your test was positive or, if it is still present where it came from.  At this point my recommendation would be to continue to follow-up with PAP smears to test for the things you want to avoid (precancerous lesions).  As I said above, unless it is a part of your fertility evaluation (which is something I am not a specialist in and would defer to our doctors on this topic), my recommendation would be to continue to follow  with PAP smears but personally, I would not be doing more HPV tests unless your PAP was abnormal.  I hope these comments are helpful.  Please let me know what your follow-up tests show.  EWH

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46 months ago
Thanks so much for your prompt response that was definitely comforting. I am hoping as you suggest that it was a false positive because all the possibilities I can think of are so remote....besides maybe the ultrasounds. I cant imagine how i could have had HPV on my finger. The HPV test was done by my regular OB and I am waiting to hear from her about my present results. I will keep you posted. Thanks again for this great service.
ST
46 months ago
JUst to clarify becuase it seemed like you thought the HPV testing was part of my fertility treatments , the PAP and HPV was not part of fertility treatment and not done by the fertility dr. I had it done at my regular annual with my OB. The fertility specialist tested me originally for other STDs (HIV, ghonrrea, chlamydia) which were all negative but he never did hpv tests. I have annual paps but my OB did the HPV in May 2016 for the first time...
46 months ago
Just thought of one other thing and that should be it til i let you know my results......If I did possibly have a wart on my finger that I could not/did not see....would that transmit the non wart genital HPV (hi risk but not 16/18) that I tested positive for?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
46 months ago

Thanks for the clarification.  As I said, most experts feel that HPV without PAP smear abnormalities is not a concern, particularly if not an HPV type associated with pre-cancerous lesions.

There are over 100 different HPV types, most of which do not infect the genital tract.  The sort of transfer you suggest could be a possibility. 

I urge you to get your repeat tests and see what shows up ut no matter what, in the absence of Pap smear abnormalities, this is really not something to worry about (not matter what you might read on the internet which is full of misinformation).  EWH

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45 months ago
Thx so much again.. your response has set me at ease a lot as Ive been very worried with all the things Ive read. Im still not sure how I would have had HPV on my finger and I wish I wld have known that STD can be transmitted non sexually. I have never really educate myself about this in any way because I always thought it doesnt apply to me with how I live my life. In any case we cant change whats been done and I see there really is now way to know how this came about which has been bothering me a lot. I hope I will have my results soon...its been over a week.  I will let you know. Thx again for this service. 
45 months ago
Hi dr. Hook
Just to update . I just got a voicemail.from my ob that the hpv came back negative.thankfully. I wobder if it was originally a false.positive. She said the pap showed a little.inflamation but she was not concerned. Do you know what   that means? She reiterated not.to be concerned adn that I should do it again in 6 months. If u have any insight or.clarification I would appreciate. 
Thx so much again
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
45 months ago

Thanks for the follow-up.  As I said above, this may have been a false positive test.  Best now however to put it behind you and move forward without concern.

As for the inflammation, please do not overthink this.  Inflammatory changes are quite common on PAP smears and quite non-specific as well.  I agree with your doctor, just repeat your PAP smear in six months.

I hope my comments have been helpful.  This  will complete this thread which will close later today.  Take care.  EWH

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