[Question #95] hpv clearance.

38 months ago
Hi. I have read Dr Handsfields and Dr Hooks answers on medhelp re clearance. My story is this. I had an incident where I fingered a woman then masturbated myself. This was a few months ago. I saw a wart in December 2014. Had a commercial test done by a private UK firm where a swab was taken on my penis. Came back negative for wart/other strains. But then went to see my doctor who said it WAS sexually transmitted,told me to go to clinic. They said it LOOKED like sexually transmitted and froze it off. This was early January 2015. I have seen nothing since.
My questions are: How likely is it that the fingering incident caused the wart,if indeed it was one? Could any of the Drs tell me how long I would be contafgious for after the freezing?I understand this is a difficult question but any guidance would be appreciated. As said I have read the experts answers re informing partners. My partner does know about the wart but we need to know how to go forward. Finally,how helpful would carrageenan gel be if we are to have unprotected sex? Many years ago I was quite promiscuous but it is many years ago. Some people say it lies dormant for decades. Very concerned about this. Thank You in anticipation.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
38 months ago
It's nice to hear from a MedHelp alumnus. Welcome to ATE.

Since fingering rarely if ever transmits HPV, you can safely assume that's not where you caught the infection causing your genital wart. Warts typically appear 2-12 months after exposure (average 3-6 months), so if your current partner is your only partner in that time frame, she is likely the source of your infection. Even then, it isn't at all certain; having seen Dr. Hook's and my comments on MedHelp, you probably know that once in a while a long past HPV infection reactivates to cause visible warts. All these scenarios are more likely that infection during the fingering episode. In any case, it is rare to ever know when and where someone catches genital HPV.

Your partner needs to know of your wart diagnosis. In fact, you should have told her long before now -- you're going to have to explain why you have said nothing to her for 7-8 months. You can assume she is infected -- either from you, or as noted above, you could have caught it from her. Either way, she should be on the lookout for warts. But if she doesn't see any, then no worries. (She also should follow standard pap smear guidelines, but that's the case regardless of your genital wart.)

I'm not sure I understand your question about carrageenana gel. It doesn't prevent or treat HPV or any other STD. I don't see the point of using it.

In addition to the specific HPV infection that caused your wart, your sexual history means you almost certainly have had other HPV infections. But so has everyone else, including your partner (assuming she has had other partners). It isn't only the "promiscuous" who get HPV. It is a normal, unavoidable consequence of having sex. However, if you and/or your partner are under age 26, you could be immunized to prevent future infections with the most troublesome HPV types.

Finally, in response to "lies dormant for decades". Yes, sometimes. But most HPV infections are cleared entirely by the immune system. HPV DNA may persist in tissues indefinitively, but long delayed reactivation or transmission to partners is believed to be uncommon. And mostly causes no important health problem. So really not something to worry about.

I hope these comments have been helpful. Best wishes--  HHH, MD



---
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
38 months ago
You didn't need to post a new question. As noted with that one, I will ask the forum admininstrator to look into the problem you apparently had posting a follow-up question in this forum. Here is that question and my reply.

"My partner knows about the wart,I told her before I had it frozen off. My concerns are really about the possibility of clearance after the 6 month period of not seeing a recurrence. We are both in our 60s BTW if this makes any difference. Also as I had the private swab test I wondered if he could comment on that. I know they say there is no test for men but they assure its accuracy. Thats why i am confused really. But my main question is whether there is a fair chance i have cleared the virus."

I misread your comment about your partner. I thought you said she doesn't know about your wart. Sorry for the confusion.

There are no approved tests for males for HPV, at least in the US, and I don't know how to interpret the negative test you had. But if your doctor was experienced in STIs in general and genital warts in particular, then almost certainly it was a wart -- and all warts are due to HPV. In other words, that exam probably was more reliable than the HPV swab test. However, knowing your age, it seems most likely that it was a late reactivation of an HPV infection acquired many years ago; new HPV infections are uncommon at age 60. In any case, since the wart has apparently not reappeared several months after treatment, and no new ones have appeared, I think it is highly likely you have cleared the virus. There is no way to be certain -- but it probably doesn't matter much. If you or your partner develop warts or similar genital lesions, get them taken care of -- but otherwise nothing that you need worry about.
---