STDs Expert Forum
Worried about HPV
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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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Worried about HPV

Hi Doc,
I am a 27 year old male!
I was in a 3 year relationship that ended exactly a year ago. After the relationship ended, my ex informed me that she was infected with a high risk strain of HPV (after an abnormal pap smear)...
I know i might have it since we were sexually active, i also know there's no test for men!

I am now in a relationship with a new girl who is a virgin. We are not sexually active for now (she's very religious)... and might not be for a while (possibly until (if) we get married)!

my dilemma is,
1) should i tell her about this HPV history? or will i freak her out unnecessirly?
2) is it safe to assume that my body has cleared it and that i am not a carrier anymore and can not infect her? (I haven't had any sexual relations for more than a year, since my last relationship)

I don't wanna feel guilty, or dishonest... and i don't wanna be one of those guys who KNOWINGLY spread STDs....
but i hear HPV might not fall under this catagory... so please tell me to do...

Thank you doctor,
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Welcome to the Forum.  Since your prior partner had HSV, it is likely that you acquired the infection a swell.  The HPV infections that lead to abnormal PAP smears often show no abnormalities in men but can be transmitted to partners.  In your situation however, it is likely that your infection has or will soon resolve by itself, as do nearly all (>97%) of HPV infections.  This process of resolution can take up to 18 months to occur.  thus there is a risk that you could have infection and if you do, that you could give it to a partner.  My advice would be to tell your GF that you have had a partner in the past who had HPV infection.  I would also point out to you that nearly everyone gets HPV at some point.  For better or worse, at present HPV is a "fact of life" and most people have it or will have it at some point in the future.  Despite this fact, only a tiny minority of persons with HPV get the consequences of infection (primarily women and primarily cancer and pre-cancerous lesions).  HPV is the most commonly acquired STD.  Over 85% of sexually active women will have HPV infection at some time in their lives.  The figure for men is less well studied but similar.  

In doing so, I would also suggest that your current GF get vaccinated for HPV. the vaccine is highly effective and prevents 98-99% of infections.  You may also wish to use condoms which offer some protection against HPV transmission as well.

I hope this suggestion helps. EWH
Hey doc, thank you for your reply.
If I abstain for a few more months and give myself an 18 months (even 24 months) window for my body to clear it, would I be able to assume I'm hpv-free and move on with my life?
I really would like to avoid discussing hpv with a virgin if I I probably don't have it.

Also I would like to ask, when doctors say your body clears it does that mean that you cab not ever spread again (of course unless you get a new infection)?
Thanks doc
Clearance means that the infection is no longer detectable and therefore, no longer transmissible.  No one can guarantee you that the virus will clear at 18 or ever 24 months.  The vast majority do but there are no promises.  EWH
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
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