[Question #7649] HPV
18 days ago
For some reason I have been increasingly anxious regarding STDs. I never learned much about HPV, despite it being so common. I got the vaccine at a young age when it was fairly new and I think it was the Gardisal 4. My main concern is regarding oral infections, since it isn't really test for.
Am I almost fully protected against 16, which is the most common cause of oral cancer?
I always notice random bumps in my mouth but cant tell if its normal or something out of the ordinary..if i did have an oral wart but never caught it would it eventually go away on its own?
Also typically how long after infection do warts genitally show up?
I am sorry if these questions are commonly found, but I wanted to come here before looking on the internet because I think you guys have the most accurate/trustworthy information. THank you so much!!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
18 days ago
Welcome back to the forum. Thanks for your continued confidence in our services.
Perhaps most important, you indeed are 100% protected against HPV16 -- assuming you were vaccinated before being sexually active and not infected with HPV16 before the vaccine. Further, HPV16 is not just "the most common cause" of HPV related throat cancer: it is almost the only cause. Also, HPV is not the cause of all oral cancers. It causes only one particular cancer of the throat -- pharyngeal squamous cell cancer. Most other oral cancers are not HPV related. Further, pharyngeal cancer due to HPV is uncommon: there's been a lot of media attention about it, and its frequency has been rising, but it's still not nearly as frequent as breast, colon, rectal, prostate, and other common cancers.
Oral HPV isn't rare, but it's a lot less common than genital infection. Almost all infections are entirely asymptomatic. Any "random bumps" in your mouth probably are not warts or anything else related to HPV.
The large majority of genital HPV infections do not cause warts. And having had Gardasil 4, you are immune to the two types (HPV6 and 11) that that cause 90% of genital warts. When warts do show up, typically they appear 2-6 months after exposure, sometimes up to a year.
Thanks for your kind comments about our advice. I hope this information is as helpful as you expected. I certainly endorse your plan for further online research if you remain concerned about HPV. Two excellent resources are ASHA, the sponsor of this forum (www.ashasexualhealth.org); and CDC (www.cdc.gov/std). Let me know if anything isn't clear.