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High-risk HPV transmission after 8 years of cervical cancer treatment w...
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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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High-risk HPV transmission after 8 years of cervical cancer treatment without recurrence

I recently had unprotected sex with a girl who I dated for a very short period, who told me she had cervical cancer 8 years ago due to high-risk HPV infection. However, she said her pap tests have been coming back negative ever since she had the surgery 8 years ago and that her blood tests for high-risk HPV are also showing up negative. She said there was no risk of her transmitting HPV since she said it was overcome by her immune system.

Ever since I've been dating another girl, and had unprotected sex with her. I'm wondering about the likelihood that I may have acquired high-risk HPV from the first girl, and the possibility that I may have passed this on to the second girl.
Also, if the second girl did a PAP test that showed up negative, would that mean that I don't carry high-risk HPV?
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239123_tn?1267651214
Welcome to the forum.  I'll try to help.

You have no worries about HPV in this situation.  Your former partner's HPV infetion undoubtedly is long gone.  There is no blood test for HPV, so I'm a bit puzzled about that part; most likely she understood something her doctor said.  But HPV rarely persists after successful treatment of cervical cancer or pre-cancerous lesions.

Of course you could still have had (and might still have) a high risk HPV infection. Everybody gets genital HPV sometime.  Most of us get it several times, the the high risk types are the most common.  Fortunately, most infections clear up on their own without ever causing symptoms.

In the event your second partner ever develops an abnormal pap, it will have nothing to do with your past partner's cervical cancer.  In that event, it could be from an infection she acquired sometime in the past or from an infection she caught from you.  It is almost never possible to know when and from whom HPV was caught, and all experts recommend that people don't try to figure it out.  And in response to your direct question, if your new partner's paps are always negative, it would still be possible you have asymptomatic HPV.

Bottom line: These issues simply aren't worth worrying about.  Just accept genital HPV as a normal, expected consequence of human sexuality that is pretty much unavoidable -- except, of course, there now are vaccines that protect against the most common high risk types and the two strains that cause most genital warts.  That could be an option for both you and your new partner to talk to your health care providers about.

Merry Christmas --  HHH, MD
4 Comments
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thank you I appreciate it
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is it worth getting the vaccine at 29 years of age?
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239123_tn?1267651214
It would be effective in preventing infection with any of the 4 strains covered by the vaccine, if you haven't previously been infected by those HPV types.  However, by age 25-26, most people have already been infected with some if not all those types; and new HPV infections are less common after age 25-26 than before.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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