[Question #6016] Genital warts

17 months ago

Im a 24 year old male that had unprotected sex with my ex roughly 3 to 4 years ago. Things were serious at the time and we continued to have unprotected sex through out the 2 year relationship. 3-4 months into our relationship I noticed one small bump 3cm above where the shaft of my penis begins. Didnt think anything about it and never got it looked at. We broke up may 2016, and July 2017 I had a breakout of warts, roughly 7. Had 4 removed and sent away for tests, test came back as genital warts, then used cryotherayp to remove the rest. Noticed some once after in december 2017, but next day were gone with no treatment. Ever since having them I always check myself and never had any reccurence. From May 2016 to June 2019 abstained from sex and started a new relationship. We have had unprotected sex multiple times over a three month period we have been dating. Now september 2019 I find 3-4 new warts. So my questions are:


1)have I cleared the infection, and got reinfected, or got a new strain of genital warts?


2) I thought I was doing the right thing by waiting, clearing the virus, so I thought there was no need to tell my new partner of my past hpv? But still I should have used a condom


3) does this mean I have given my new partner the virus? 

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
17 months ago
Welcome to our Forum and thanks for your questions.  I'll do my best to help.  Let me start with a few general comments about genital warts and HPV infection.  Virtually all sexually active Americans acquire HPV at some time in their lives (even those who are monogamous!)  and from a medical perspective for all but a fraction (a small fraction of 1%) of those who infected the disease is nothing more than a nuisance- sometimes cosmetically, sometimes otherwise.  This is particularly true with respect to visible genital warts which are, from a medical perspective, nothing more than a nuisance for most people.   With this background:
 

1)have I cleared the infection, and got reinfected, or got a new strain of genital warts?

It is not common for warts which have been successfully treated to recur and from the sounds of things, your warts were treated successfully.  Are you sure these are warts?  There are many other things which can be mistaken for warts.  Part of the reason I say this is because I note that you state that you had a one-day recurrence in December 2017.  Warts do not recur for a single day - this was almost certainly something else.  

Further, given that you just noted the lesions and have been sexually active for three months (which is about the average time it takes for warts to become apparent), you may have been infected by her.  

2) I thought I was doing the right thing by waiting, clearing the virus, so I thought there was no need to tell my new partner of my past hpv? But still I should have used a condom.

You did not do anything wrong and in general we do not see a need to tell partners of past HPV.  Condoms are always a good idea but I would urge you not to beat yourself up over this.  

3) does this mean I have given my new partner the virus?

Not all exposures lead to transmission of infection and if your partner has taken the HPV vaccine (recommended for all persons under age 26), she would almost certainly be protected from exposure if exposed.  

My advice is first and foremost to seek evaluation by an experienced clinician to find out what these lesions are.  If t hey are warts, the correct thing to do is to tell your partner.  If she has had other partners, she is more than likely, at least from a statistical perspective, to already have HPV.


I hope this information is helpful to you. EWH

 
---
17 months ago

Thank you for your answer back, it is reassuring and the information has helped.

I will be going to my doctor to have better opinion of what they are, but I am thinking they are warts. About her having the vaccine, we have talked about that and she said she did not. Just a couple more follow up questions.

1) so If these are warts, and knowing my previous hpv history, have I exposed her to a possible recurrence, or would I be reinfected? 

2) Having genital warts before, having a successful treatment with no recurrence over a 2year span, would that make me still contangious?


Thank you again for your help

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
17 months ago
1.  There is no way to distinguish recurrence of a wart from re-infection however, in your case, given the fact that you were clear for years, it is more likely that you were re-infected than had a relapse of a prior infection.

2.  When visible warts have been successfully treated and can no longer be detectable, they are no longer considered contagious for partners.  EWH
---