[Question #5430] HPV Confusion

21 months ago
Hello, 

I am 21 years old. From August-November 2018 I was seeing someone and we had protected sex about 4 times and unprotected 6 times. He told me he had 9 partners before me, and I am unaware if those encounters were protected or not. Since January 2019, I have experienced persistent vaginal itching and irritation that I cannot find a resolution to and it has become quite frustrating. Before dating him, I received two doses of Gardasil at 19 and 20, but I did not receive the third until recently. Though I have not seen any warts yet, I am concerned that the itching and irritation could be a symptom of HPV or I could be asymptomatic and I am fearful of transmitting it. I have a pap scheduled in a few weeks. Does this sound like HPV? Does anyone know the efficacy of two doses of Gardasil? Thank you for your time.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
21 months ago
Welcome to the Forum.  I'll be glad to provide some information and make a suggestion or two.

HPV.  Two doses of the HPV vaccine are almost effective as three doses. The 3rd dose consolidates the effect and makes its effect more long lasting.  Your two doses should provide you with protection against most HPV infections.  Further, I should point out that nearly all HPV infections are asymptomatic and that vaginal itching and irritation are not HPV symptoms.

Vaginal itching and irritation are rather non-specific symptoms associated with a number of STIs. The infections most associated with these symptoms are bacterial vaginosis (BV) which is not an STI per se but is an overgrowth and unbalance of bacterial normally found in the vagina.  The other common cause of these symptoms is trichomoniasis which is an STI- when you have your examination you should be sure you are tested for these problems.  In some women with these symptoms there is not an obvious cause but at the very least you need thorough testing by your health care provider

I hope these comments are helpful.  If some of what I have said is unclear nor there are further questions, please use your up to two follow-up questions for clarification.  EWH
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21 months ago
Thank you so much your information is very helpful. Does it matter that I received my second dose just a few weeks before being sexually involved with him? 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
21 months ago
That is a bit harder to say.  You certainly had some protection as the result of receiving your 2nd dose and if it was 4 weeks before your first unprotected sex it is more likely than not that you were had the full effect of the vaccine.  Sorry I can't be more precise.  EWH---