[Question #6933] HPV

9 months ago
I am 62 and made a mistake. Last year I slept with four younger women. One is accusing me of giving her HPV. With three, a condom was used; the 4th is the one accusing me I did not use a condom. I had one she didn't seem to care the other three demanded. After a couple of times having sex, she talked about her sexual conquest, which included 3sums with swingers. She had a video to prove it.  I confessed one young woman was strange in she would not take her panties off and would not let me touch her vagina. Another 40 years old was having her cervix removed because cancer of the cervix leading to her mother's death, and a couple of aunts had similar issues. I asked this woman if she had HPV, and she swore she did not; removing her cervix was something she and her sister both did after having children as a preventative means.  I asked the women who would not take her panties off, and she confessed she had genital warts. 

I stopped seeing the accuser in October of last year. In February, she attacked me and said I gave her e6/e7 HPV. Later she found out the type she had was not the type to cause cancer and not the type that caused warts.

From my reading, I see there are no tests for men. I had a doctor examine me for genitalia warts, and he could not find any. How is it possible for this women to be 100% sure I gave her HPV? After we broke up on Oct 12, she immediately started a  sexual relationship with another man. Her confessions of sex before she met me was full of risk. Stupid me. She was gorgeous. How can this woman be certain I was the one who gave her HPV?
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
9 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your confidence in our services.

The quick answer is that it definitely is NOT possible for your accusing partner to know you are the source of her HPV infection. Here are some basic facts about HPV along with specific comments about your situation.

Almost all sexually active persons acquire genital HPV at least once, often several times. It is fair to assume that the large majority of sexual exposures occur in couples in which both have (or have had) HPV. For those reasons and others, it is rarely possible to know when and from whom any particular HPV infection was acquired. If you had been the accusing partner's only sex partner in her entire life, it would be fair to conclude you could have been the source of her HPV. Otherwise, she simply cannot know who infected her. (Since she apparently had several previous partners, it is likely she has acquired more than one HPV infection from at least two of those partners.) If she developed warts or an abnormal pap smear (or other apparent HPV problem) after sex with you, that doesn't mean you're the source. Also, the timing may be signfiicant:  HPV cannot cause warts or an abnormal pap smear sooner than several weeks after exposure; if her problem appeared sooner than 2-3 months after you were together, it's a good bet she had it before then. But no matter when it showed up, many newly diagnosed HPV problems actually are the result of recurrence of a distant past infection.

For all those reasons, there never should be blame for acquring HPV. Catching and having HPV is a normal, expected, unavoidable consequence of being sexual. This is the main reason that pap smears are indicated for all women, regardless of partner number or other risks for STD. (And also the reason for all young persons to be vaccinated against HPV, even if there is no expectation of multiple partners or other STD risks.)

You can and should assume you have (or have had) HPV -- because everybody does, if they've had more than a few sex partners in their lives. However, at age 62 you probably do not have an active, transmissible infection. That doesn't make active infection impossible, because HPV can reactivate (without symptoms) and potentially be transmitted from time to time. However, new HPV infections are uncommon at your age, and the chance you are infectious for your current or future partners probably is low.

I hope this information is helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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