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Forum Name: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Question: HPV- potential to spread? if no symptoms?


 worried12345 - Tue Feb 21, 2006 4:57 pm

My girlfriend of two years had HPV (her doctor told her it was just the genital warts kind and did not have a risk of cancer). She was diagnosed and treated a year and a half before we started to date. She did not have another outbreak of warts for more then a year before we started to have sex nor has she had one since then. She also had a pap smear when we first started dating and before sex that came back normal. I have never had any symptoms, and at one point was checked out by
a health care professional (at planned parenthood) who said I did not have
HPV after I told them I had been exposed to someone that used to have it. Although they only performed a visual test of my genitals.

What are the chances that I am a silent carrier of the virus and can pass
it to another partner. I recently broke up with my girlfriend and am not
sure how to approach the idea of having sexual relationships with new
people. I have read that most likely I do not have HPV at all. I have also read that after a few months if you have no symptoms the body has rid itself of the virus. Is any of this true? How big of a risk am I to future sexual partners?

What should I do? I want to know if I can rest easy and not pass the virus or if I need to tell every potential girlfriend about this.
 Dr. Anthony Solomon - Sun Feb 26, 2006 3:05 pm

Genital warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and are the most common viral STD.

HPV infections causing genital warts are transmitted by direct sexual contact with a partner who has a clinical or sub-clinical infection. The risk of infection rises with increasing numbers of sex partners.

About 70% of sex partners of individuals infected with genital warts develop the disease within 2-4 months. Genital lesions are often inconspicuous and can only be identified by careful examination. In men, they are often sited on the frenum, coronal sulcus, glans penis, the lining of the prepuce, the shaft of the penis and the scrotum. Genital warts also occur in the urethra, where they may cause urethral bleeding or discharge, or a change in the urinary stream. Genital strains of HPV can also infect the anal canal and mouth via receptive anal intercourse and oral sex respectively.

Your post does not suggest that you have suspicious lumps on the genitalia or any urethral symptoms. Also, you state that examination by a health professional was negative for conspicuous lesions. These negative findings indicate that the risk of infecting future partners is minimal or absent, but I would advise further examination by a genitourinary physician for reassurance.

Dr Anthony Solomon
Consultant Physician, Tropical & Genitourinary medicine

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