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genital warts
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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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genital warts

1.)  I got some genital warts removed about 6 months ago, but the last time i had sex was over a year ago now, so i figure i may have been infected some time in august of last year or even before then.  those are the only warts ive had and none have showed up since.  is it safe to say that my gential (genital) warts/hpv infection has cleared my system?  ive seen so many different things on this site that most infections clear in about 8-12 months usually.  since i figure ive had the infection for about a year or more and no other warts have shown, do you think i can have sex with a condom and be ok and not have to tell a future partner?

2.)  can individuals have genital warts and never know it, and they eventually clear the system w/out them knowing it?

3.)  In most people do genital warts exit the system like any other hpv infection?

4.) the vaccine that is out for genital warts, is that only for people that arnt infected?  will there be a cure for those of us some day, or are drs not worried because they feel most of these infections clear the immune system?
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1) The duration of HPV infection is highly variable; it is quite impossible to give any particular assurance for any person's infection.  Most people with genital warts probably do indeed clear the infection within a year or so, and I generally tell my patients that after they have gone at least 6 months without recurrence of visible warts, they probably do not have an ethical obligation to inform future sex partners.  However, others disagree with this and there are no hard answers.  Sorry I can't be more definitive.

2) About 50% of people infected with the wart-causing types (HPV 6 and 11, mostly) notice warts; the other half never have visible abnormalities that they notice.  In both cases, the wart virus typically clears, as described above.  So the answer is yes, indeed; people can have wart virus infection and have the infection go away without ever knowing about it.

3) It is the same for all HPV infections.  However, for the non-wart-causing types, the vast majority of infections are entirely asymptomatic.  Most people never know about most of their HPV infections.

4) The new vaccine prevents new infection but has no effect at all on established HPV infection.  Perhaps such treatment will be available in the future, but don't hold your breath.  If effective immunologic treatment is developed, it is many years away.  It isn't because health professionals 'aren't worried' about it; there is great interest, but just not much success yet in the research.

I hope this helps.  Best wishes-   HHH, MD
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For the person who posted this question. Can you tell me what your gential (genital) warts looked like. I have this bump on the head of my penis that doesn't appear to be herpes. (I have already posted a question for the Dr. about that)

So many websites say so many different things... Just wanted to here from a person that actually had them. I'm going to my Dr. today for a checked out, but worried though. Thanks.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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