[Question #3649] Male HPV question

36 months ago



I am a 53 year old male, not in any of the high risk groups for HPV however I have had unprotected sex a few times over the last few years.


I have recently been told after a small biopsy was taken that I have HPV


The information from the lab says


Two fragments show similar histologic findings. An exophytic process with rounded protuberances  shows features of a lesion induced by human papilloma virus - Condyloma Acuminatum.


I was unaware of my status as what turned out to be “abnormal” I believed to be irritation caused by sweat/salt water as I work as a diver and believed the small area (approx 3mm x 4mm) affected to be caused by being in and out of the salt water all the time or sweat from working in warm and humid environment. This small area I noticed some years ago but as I say I never thought of it being HPV and until recently knew very little about HPV.


My question is, if this started some years ago could my body have cleared the HPV and thus I am no longer at risk of transmitting the virus and it is just the scar/abnormal tissue that remains, or could it be that the virus has laid dormant without any further symptoms arising but still shows as a positive test ?


The tissue was removed and I do not have any genital warts, if I have the virus but no lesions or warts am I still at risk of transmitting the virus ?


Also do the home HPV/DNA tests offer any reliable results ?


In other words could the test result be from an older infection of the virus which has now cleared but I still have the tissue irregularity historically and if not how can I find out if I still have the virus and if it is transferrable ?




Thank you


Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
36 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  I'll try to help. Your biopsy results show that you have HPV.  The description you provide is of HPV infection, not old "burned out" infection or evidence of past infection.  It does not provide any information about how long you have had it or who gave it to you.  The fact that you have HPV however is not a surprise.  Unless they have received the HPV vaccine at a relatively young age, most sexually active persons do have HPV.  In some the infection causes genital warts while in others there are no visible abnormalities.  In men, HPV infections typically go away with time, even without treatment, and very, very rarely cause problems.  In a fraction of 1% of men the infection can cause penile cancer however this is a VERY slow process and when lesions occur, they can readily be evaluated and take care of by health care providers. 

Although HPV is transmittable, as I said above, it is not a cause for concern and should not hamper future relationships. 

I'm not completely clear on why you had the biopsy.  In general HPV testing of any sort is not routinely recommended for men.

I hope these comments at helpful.  If some of what I have said is unclear you may ask up to two follow-up questions.  In addition, while we strongly recommend against internet searches regarding HPV, we do recommend the information available at the ASHA 9American Sexual Health) HPV web site or the web site for the Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  EWH
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36 months ago
The reason I had the biopsy was because a new girlfriend noticed the slight discolouration and as she has had an issue many years ago in her late teens with HPV and having to have cone treatment  she brought it up, I wanting to find out and not cause any harm or issues I went to seek medical advice. The reason for the question is that it didn't say if it was caused by current or past HPV infection and after reading many internet pages some say that the infection can go away on it's own after a time, so having noticed the discolouration some years ago I wondered if it could be the case or now be dormant  or if it is most likely still a possible cause of infection to her in which case we would cease to have any sexual contact because I dont want to cause her, or in fact anyone any health issues.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
36 months ago
Thanks for the additional information.  The biopsy sounds like it shows current infection.  Indeed, I would expect that your body will control the infection and it would go away without therapy in about 00% of instances.  The internet messages on this are related to debate about a different, scientific issue which is whether or not, once a person has HPV, the virus truly goes away or just goes into a quiescent, dormant phase.  Current data favor the latter.

In your case,  it sounds like she has had HPV in the past and that you have been sexually active.  further, I presume you have had other, prior sexual partners.  This being the case, you both now know that you have had HPV infections, your GF has been exposed and there is no reason for you to change your sexual practices or activity.  What she should do is have her regularly scheduled women's health checks- at that time she will be evaluated and if need be (unlikely) have further diagnostic tests or treatment (if she shows signs of active HPV needing treatment, no one will be able to say whether it is related to you or past infection).  For you, if the area you mention goes away, no concern.  OTOH, should the area grow or change in appearance, probably best to see a dermatologist.   In 99+% of such cases, this is not a problem for you or her to worry about other than as described

Hope this is helpful.  EWH
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