[Question #5560] HPV and Latency period

22 months ago
Ma'am: I was mistaken; she was diagnosed prior to her surgery, not post. Neither myself nor my spouse has ever been diagnosed with herpes. I was confused as to my symptoms, diagnose of UTI (I was 21 yrs old), and some symptoms previously described above that followed soon after. At this point I suppose my main question is; can the recently diagnosed HPV positive be from the original infection contracted many years ago (assuming we have both been monogamous/no other partners)? Thank you for your help and understanding
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
22 months ago
Welcome back to the forum. I'm taking your question this time. I reviewed your previous discussion with Terri, which was confusing:  you seemed to give conflicting information, asking about HPV (human papillomavirus) but also mentioning genital herpes -- it wasn't certain whether you really meant to ask about HPV or if it was a typographical error, i.e. that you meant HSV (herpes simplex virus). Terri takes questions about herpes; Dr. Hook and I answer questions about all other STDs, including HPV. It now seems that HPV is your only concern, right?

It would be helpful to have more clear information about your wife's diagnosis. Did she have cervical cancer? Is that why she had the hysterectomy? Were either you or she previously diagnosed with an HPV problem, such as genital warts? How old are you and she? If you're asking about your diatant past urinary tract infection (UTI), that definitely was not caused by HPV. The virus sometimes reactivates many years after it is caught, so if your wife had cervical cancer or other HPV problem, indeed she could have had the virus for 40 years or even longer. 

Almost all humans (80-90% of us) acquire one or more genital HPV infections. Although you refer to lifelong monogamy, that's pretty unusual:  are you sure that neither you nor your wife ever had sex with anyone else before you became a couple? Each of you is the other's ONLY lifetime sex partner? Even if that's the case, some HPV infections nonetheless appear, sometimes without explanation. With or without other sex partners, it is almost never possible to know when and from whom someone caught HPV, and at this point, it doesn't matter, as long as you're not having any symptoms yourself.

Fill in some of the missing information and I'll try to help some more.

HHH, MD
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