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HPV and abnormal pap smear
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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HPV and abnormal pap smear

My girlfriend's most recent pap smear came back abnormal. The doctor said that it was due to a high risk strain of HPV, and she is due in for a bioposy in a week. I feel like the most dirtball lowlife for giving my girlfriend this deadly disease. Are the doctors able to tell from a pap smear if it is a high or low risk hpv strain? and if it is a high risk strain what is the likelihood of it progressing to cervical cancer or other serious complications. I'm scared to death that this might affect our plans of settling down and getting married and starting a family. I feel like I have ruined her life because of this. Would her immune system be able to supress the virus to low enough levels were it would not cause any further harm or damage? Any information you could provide would help the both of us immensely.
Tags: Pap smear
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You are overreacting--which is understandable given the minimal knowledge you apparently have about HPV. It's late in the evening and I'm not going to respond in detail now.  The bottom line is that you and your girlfriend have no serious worries, as long as she follows her provider's advice about treatment and follow-up.  Read the thread started just 2 days ago, "hpv ex" posted by "worriedok"and also the HPV/warts article in the link on this forum's home page, "STD Quick Facts and Articles".  Then come on back as needed with follow-up questions.  In the meantime, relax and don't let this ruin your day. It's not really a very big deal.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
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i had a pap once..that came back positive for hpv..had a culposcopy..no cancer...Like you i was freaking out!! the guy i was with at the time, i was only with him for a few months..it was the beginning of our relationship (we've been together for 4 years now)I didnt know how to tell him. I basically just cried my eyes out to him. After reading up on it, I realized how small of a deal it is. I believe the pap does tell you if it is a high or low strain.80% of people have hpv and have no idea that they even have it. It can cause genital warts...but not all the time. I never had any signs of it..and from what my dr said there is no way to tell who you got it from. The dr is right..you are overreacting. She could of had this before you and it never showed up. Every pap i have had since..has never showed it again! goodluck, and i hope this makes you feel a tad better!!
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Ok I understand that 80 % or so become or have become infected with hpv at some point in their life, is the reason that so few infections are detected is because the immune system supresses it before a pap smear can detect it? Also are the chances low enough that a coloposy will turn up anything serious not to worry too much? Sense i assume that i'm infected as well with this hpv strain should will continuing to have sex with each other have any effect on how quickly the virus will go away? Also, is there anything that i should do since i'm infected as well?
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when she gets the culposcopy done, they pull a tiny piece of her cervix and test it for cancer, basically its a biopsy. I will tell you that culposcopy does hurt a tad, and she will want to bring a pad with her because they put iodine on it afterwards, and it will "leak" out. Its not horrible pain, enough for tears in the eyes..but no big deal really. Your immune system does take care of the hpv itself, or thats what ive concluded from reading pamphlets. It affects everyone differently...like i said before in my other post, i never had any signs!! no warts..nothing! i had no idea i had it..and that is why its said that 80% of people have and dont know..because in most people it will never even show.  If you two are only seeing each other, there is no reason you can't still have sex. I could understand if you were not in a commited relationship, the worry of passing it. But since she has already been diagnosed, you most likely have it, or have gotten rid of it already. nothing to worry about!! There are no meds to get rid of hpv, not yet anyway, i believe i read that they are working to find a vaccine. Wait until her culposcopy comes back to worry!! And really the only thing that is going to tell you is whether or not she has cervical cancer. Believe me, i know how worried you are! i was there once too! I hope this one helped too!! goodluck
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239123_tn?1267651214
"So few" HPV infections are detected mostly because most infections cause no symptoms and are transient, i.e. they clear up in a few months.  And many others cause nothing abnormal even on a pap smear.  If a woman doesn't happen to get a pap during the time she is infected, it's never known.  And of course men don't get pap smears or other exams when they have no symptoms.

Once both members of a couple are infected, they cannot reinfect each other. It's totally safe sex between them, and having sex with other or not will not affect how quickly their infections clear up.  For the man who is the partner of a woman with an abnormal pap, there's really nothing that he can do or should do--except be on the lookout for warts (in case the HPV strain is one of the wart-causing types),

HHH, MD
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One last question Doctor. Does the fact that in her particular case the HPV was picked up by the pap smear make it less 'trivial' then if it had gone entirely undetected. Since it wasn't asymptomatic does that mean that it will take longer or may be harder for the immune system to rid itself of the virus?
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239123_tn?1267651214
Makes no difference.  How an HPV diagnosis iss made (or not made) has nothing to do with how important or trivial the infection is, and doesn't predict anything about how quickly the immune system will resolve it.

HHH, MD
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