[Question #3647] HPV

35 months ago
I was diagnosed with HPV with visible warts in 2000. Since then I have only had what appears to be ingrown hairs or sweat bumps. I just took two home DNA, urine, and oral swab test and all were negative for high risk and HPV 6 and 11. Do you think my immune system has fought the virus and is it safe to have unprotected sex with one person?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
35 months ago
Welcome to the Forum.  Your question caused me to remember something I said to another client which I replied "While I find it most unlikely that the bumps you have noticed are warts, before I give more detail, I have to tell you that when I saw the title for your question I thought to myself, so what if they are?  Most sexually active persons will have HPV at some time in there life and there is no reliable way to tell where HPV infections came from for most people.  Further, on this site, our general stance is that HPV infection is a nuisance except for the very small (less than 1%) of persons for whom the infection proceeds to form treatable pre-cancerous lesions (primarily a problem for women)."  My answers to your questions come from a similar (but slightly different) perspective.

I have not reason to doubt that you had warts nearly 20 years ago and while you don't mention this, my guess is that you were treated and they have not recurred.  If that is the case, you should consider yourself cured of those warts.  Warts recur following treatment in 3-6 months if they are going to recur.  My guess is that your treatment (if you received it) and your immune system have controlled the HPV that caused your warts and that you are not infectious for sexual partners.  At t he same time, I must also point out that any sexual partner you might have who has ever had sex is also likely to have or have had past HPV infection.   HPV is really only a concern for the less than 1% of persons in who they progress to form treatable pre-cancerous lesions (typically over a period of years or even decades) and even they are readily detected and treated with recommended sexual health check ups. 

I should also add that HPV testing in men, while offered by some on-line companies, is not recommended and interpretation of test results is challenging. 

thus, the short answer to your question is yes, in terms of HPV it is safe for you to have unprotected sex with a future sex partners without being concerned that you might transmit HPV to them.  I hope this comment is helpful.  EWH
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