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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Question: HPV and cervical cancer

 NellaXXXXXXXXXXX - Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:14 pm

My girlfriend was recently diagnosed with High Rick HVP. What does high risk mean? We have no syptoms by the way. Also what is to be expected so far as risks for cervical cancer, in percentages if you can. (like 10% increased risk...). Her doctor did not suggest to us using a condom to help stop the loop of contamination so her body can naturally fight off the virus. I am not sure why. Thank you so much for your help here. It is greatly appreciated.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:27 pm

User avatar Hello NellaX,

HPV (human papilloma virus) is a virus that is strongly associated with cervical cancer. There are more than 100 types of HPV and a few are considered "high-risk". These include HPV types 16, 18, and 31 (although the specificly high risk types varies slightly by region). It is estimated that HPV types 16 and 18 are involved in about 70% of cervical cancer cases.

However, it is very important to know that while there are high risk strains of HPV, even the high risk strains still have a relatively low rate of subsequent cervical cancer given the extremely large number of people infected with the virus. So, being infected with HPV is not a definitive diagnosis that cancer will develop. It is, however, a definite indicator that your girlfriend should continue to have ongoing evaluations to screen for the development of cervical cancer. Unfortunately, I cannot give you an exact percentage increase in the risk of developing cervical cancer as I do not know these statistics.

Regarding not recommending condom use to prevent "reinfection", if your girlfriend is infected with a strain of HPV, further exposure to the same strain will not increase the risk of ongoing infection. Nor will using a condom increase her chances of clearing the virus. It is possible, though to become infected with other strains. In addition, the virus can be spread to others as can other STD's so condom use is always advised to help prevent the spread of STD's.

Best wishes.

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