[Question #4192] if HPV is cleared by our body, why people are scared of HPV

29 months ago
Few  questions:

1. I read high-risk strains take a longer time to clear than low-risk strains. Is it true?

2.  If HPV is cleared by our body, why people are concerned about it? It will come back when there is HIV or Cancer or immunosuppression drugs. When I have HIV or cancer, HPV is the last thing I worry about.

3. CDC says oral sex is less common for HPV transmission than genetial sex. Is there any study for it?

4. Is Kissing a mode of transmission for HPV?

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
29 months ago
Welcome back to the forum but sorry you found it necessary. I reviewed your discussion with Dr. Hook and agree with the scientific information and advice he gave you. I agree there is little risk you have HPV, if the sexual history described there is accurate. The chance isn't zero, but even if infected, you'll probably never know it and probably never infect a future sex partner. So your attitude is that it really shouldn't matter. I will also observe you're diving much more deeply into the scientific weeds than makes sense in your situation. To these specific questions:

1) Yes. At least some of the high risk (cancer causing) HPV types often take longer than most low risk (e.g. wart causing) HPV types to be cleared by the immune system. However, there are many exceptions and for any particular infection, it is impossible to accurately predict the duration of infection. Also usually impossible to know how long the infection lasts.

2) I'm getting mixed messages here! These statements are correct:  because HPV is cleared and only a small minority of cases result in disease, people in general should not be as concerned about it as they are. I'm glad you have that attitude -- except that everything else in this thread and your previous one suggests you are very worried about it. Why?

3) There have been no research studies on this. But there are many publications reporting much lower frequencies of oral HPV infection than genital; and that genital HPV is uncommon in people whose only exposures are oral sex.

4) Nobody can say the risk of oral HPV from kissing is zero, but it is extremely low. Certainly nothing to be worried about.

HHH, MD
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29 months ago
It is true I had only two protected sex and my partner's HPV DNA and PAP is normal. But they sleep with more people.  Thanks for the clarity.  I will give up.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
29 months ago
Makes no difference. Only 2 partners, both of whom had recently negative tests for active HPV infection. That's the important part.---
29 months ago
Cool! I am a young person. Let me ask this hypothetically. As I get older, my immunity will reduce. Let’s say I am 70. Will I get HPV cancer because I am old?  
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
29 months ago
Under one in a thousand people with HPV gets cancer because of it, at any age. Don't worry about it.

That completes the two follow-up comments and replies included with each original question, and so ends this thread. Try not to worry at all about HPV. In the course of your life, you will have hundreds of health threats more serious than HPV.
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