[Question #7240] High Risk HPV

5 months ago

A girl I used to sleep with told me she tested positive for high risk hpv. This was in October 2018. What does this mean for me? Do I carry this high risk strain and am I at risk of passing it to another woman? I know there’s no way to test since I’m a male. Also, do I just have hpv and could pass it and it become high risk? I’m 30 now (was 28 at the time). She’s probably 27 now (25 at the time). We aren’t in contact anymore. 

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
5 months ago

Welcome to our Forum and thanks for your question.  I'll provide a preliminary reply below and be happy to address other questions in your up to two follow-up questions but I would also suggest for more in-depth learning, you may want to take a look at some of the other questions on our site regarding HPV.  We get many questions and a wide variety of them as well and you may find looking at other interactions interesting.  Further, you will see replies by both myself and Dr. Handsfield and although we agree entirely on our messages, our verbal styles are different.

It was good of your prior partner to let you know of your exposure, that's a difficult thing for many people to do and it is a practice which, while we encourage it, also understand that in many situations persons may not discuss this topic with prior partners.  The reason that we feel this is OK is that virtually all unvaccinated sexually active persons will acquire HPV at some point and that in the vast majority of them, it will not cause problems and will resolve over time.  Assuming that you have had other partners during your 30 years, its quite likely you have been exposed to more than one partner with HPV. 

HPV is a larger problem for women than men although even then the associated problems are typically modest as long as women get their regularly scheduled PAP smears/sexual health check ups.  In about 99% of infections, the infections will resolve over time.  In less than 1% the infection may lead to pre-cancerous lesions which can be detected and readily managed before they progress.  Men are even less likely to suffer consequences for their HPV infections than women- that's part of the reason that there are no HPV tests for men. 

Given that it has been nearly two years since your exposure, if you were infected (there's no way to know at this point and even if you were to find you had HPV, you would probably not know whom you got it from) that infection has likely resolved and there is little risk for you passing it on to un-vaccinated partners (vaccination is highly effective for HPV prevention and covers the nine most common types of HPV.  It is recommended for men as well as women)

I hope that these replies are helpful.  As I said, I'll be glad to provide clarification or address up to two further related questions.  EWH

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5 months ago
Thank you for your answer. What is the time limit for me replying with my additional responses? Like how long until this is closed out? Also, what is the time frame for my current girlfriend (33 years old) getting tested for high risk hpv? Like 60 days after exposure? 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
5 months ago
Threads remain open for up tp 30 days or after three responses, whichever comes first (this is your 2nd response)

If your girlfriend has regular Pap smears, she is tested for HPV And its consequences each time.

Estimates are that it can take up to three months for a recent infection to become evident following acquisition.  Before you ask, I am anticipating where this line of questions appears to be going and should also point out that if you and your current girlfriend are having unprotected sex at this time. I see no scientific reason to stop or change your activities at this time. 

I hope these comments are helpful. EWH
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4 months ago
Thank you. I also seem to have genital warts, is there any over the counter treatment that you recommend? Also, genital warts do not cause cancer, correct?
4 months ago
We have already been having sex with the genital warts. So is there a point in stopping now?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
4 months ago
Over the counter wart medications work less well than prescription medications.  Once you’ve been examined by a health care provider however, there are several treatments which can be self-administered such as imiquimod or prescription podophyllin preparations.  

Your partner has already been repeatedly exposed.  I see little benefit from stopping at this time.

This is my. 3rd reply.  Thus, as per Forum guidelines, this thread will now be closed.  Take care.  EWH
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