Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Community
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Avatar universal

confused about an apparent conflict in information

The following is from an FAQ written by Dr. Hunter Handsfield, MD. ((Dr. Handsfield is Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington and Visiting Scientist at the Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), he is an internationally acclaimed expert in clinical aspects and prevention of STDs. He is board-certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases, and during his 30-year career has been president of the American STD Association; authored or co-authored more than 200 STD-related research papers, review articles, textbook chapters and a book, Color Atlas and Synopsis of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, published by McGraw-Hill; and for 25 years directed the STD Control Program for Public Health - Seattle & King County)

"We also know that once the test becomes negative, the person is immune to catching the same HPV type again, which is further evidenced that the infection was truly eradicated by the immune system."

Also: "You and your partner cannot keep "re-infecting" each other (transmit the infection back and forth). If you have a regular partner before the warts appeared, you don't need to stop having sex at all, except to avoid irritation if the wart areas are sore from treatment; s/he is already exposed and likely infected, too late to make any difference."

But then the CDC documentation at one point reads "[m]ost HPV infections appear to be temporary and are probably cleared up by the body's immune system, and in 91 percent of women with new HPV infections, HPV became undetectable within two years. Most people who become infected with HPV will not have any symptoms and will clear the infection on their own. However, reactivation or reinfection is possible."

Notice that last sentence of the CDC paragraph: "reactivation or reinfection is possible."

Who do I believe, Dr. Handsfield or the CDC?

I'm trying to figure out if I should stop having sex with the person I was with this past summer when I found out I had cervical HPV. I'm still with him (have been for many years) and we're still having sex (no clue if he's the one I got it from), but I'm concerned about reinfecting myself and having to have treatments over and over and over and over and....
19 Responses
Avatar universal
once you have a specific strain of the virus..you can't reinfect yourself w/ the same strain..but you can infect yourself w/ a new strain..you may want  to look into getting the Gardisil shot..it'll protect you from the most common low/high risk strains that you HAVEN"T gotten yet. The info isn't contradictory..your body suppresses the infection but if your immune system weakens it can "awaken" in your system. The terminology sometimes is confusing "clearing" just means that the body suppressed it into dormancy making it undetecable/unable to be transmitted..not that your body cured itself of it.

The strains that cause warts(low risk) and the strains that increase your already small chance of certain cancers/cervical (high risk) are different. If you and your partner were having sex when you found out..he more than likely has it (either you gave it to him, he gave it to you, or you both had it already from seperate ppl)
Avatar universal
Thanks for un-confusing me, Roses. :) I was kind of wondering if that was the case, but I wanted to get somebody else's opinion.

Unfortunately since I'm 30 I can't get the Gardasil shot... too old. And my gyno said  that at least one company is working on another vaccine, but it's for people 40 and over. Buuut, on the other hand, it's not like I'm planning on having any new partners anytime soon.
Avatar universal
keep an eye out on the Gardisil shot..they're currently seeking approval for women up to age 45...getting the shot BEFORE you plan on having new patners could be in my opinion just being proactive considering the method that HPv can spread..

glad that I could help you out... hopefully you're doing things to help strengthen your immune system..
Avatar universal
If you have any immune-strengthening tips, I'd be happy to hear them. I already take vitamins (multivitamin, calcium, and right now extra vitamin A), do my best to get enough sleep, exercise when I can, avoid stress, eat healthy, avoid people who are sick, wash my hands frequently, use hand sanitizer...
Avatar universal
you should be  taking a multi w/ folic (@ least 800mg )..I started taking a natural supplement called Papillex one montha go that has 10 potent ingrediants known to help strengthen your immune system to fight the infection..check out their site..it's not a cure..but have heard positive things from other hpv ppl on other support sites.
Avatar universal
I wonder what it is about folic acid that is helpful?
Avatar universal
Folic acid helps in cell maintenance and repair,(produce/maintain new cells), formation of red and white blood cells,and helps prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer. I've found studies where women w/ higher folic acid levels were found to clear the infection quicker..rec is 400mcg and max is 1000mcg
Avatar universal
I checked the label on the multi bottle in the cabinet and found that each tablet contains 400mcg, so I'm getting at least the minimum requirement. (Yay.) Plus it's in foods too.

How did you find out this information? Why do doctors not tell people this? At least, my doctor didn't. :-\ Most of what I know is information I looked up myself on (reputable sites on) the internet. My doctor did little more than give me some pamphlets to read. And when I asked more specific questions like "what kind of illness is serious enough to interfere with my healing process" she said "I don't know".
Avatar universal
My office told me that I had HPV over the phone..at least you initially got pamphlets..although they were EXTREMELY helpful in the two weeks that I called almost everyday! Unfortunately MOST medical doctors don't support/promote the benefits of "natural" medicine...which only serves as a disservice to them and even more to their patients. I found this info by googling hpv and immune system/foolic acid/vit e...and read ALOT of research that was done/is being done on helping fight the HPV BEFORE it reaches the cancer stage...i belong to two other support communities and also was exposed to additional info on helping my body to suppress the infection (HPV shouldn't be labeled as a STD..it's really more like a skin infection). Add the fact that it's SO COMMON ..I think that docs aren't concerned w/ it UNTIL it beccomes serious and your body shows that it can't figh/suppresst it. If it were'nt for other hpv ppl i would never have known about eating dark/bright veggies/fruits, Papillex, to stop using tampons (found to slow down the regression of hpv), and how many natural supplements that we can take to help supress hpv/ regress cervical dyplasia.

If I were you I would bump up my folic acid intake..I take my multi twice a day..plus my Papillex.
Avatar universal
My office told me over the phone too! At least it was the WHNP that I normally see for my annual, but she called me after normal business hours! She made it sound like it wasn't really a big deal, and told me that they'd send me some pamphlets in the mail, so it took me a few minutes for the news to sink in. Then I started sobbing and ended up calling the after hours number and having the answering service page the person on call so I could ask a few more questions. I cried at my colposcopy and at my cryosurgery because I felt so helpless and hopeless. They probably think I'm a nutcase but I'd like to see how they would react to being told they have an incurable virus and not being able to get questions answered (or having their answers conflict with other information I had found). Either that or they think I'm a skanky ho. But I'm not.

Tell me about the thing with tampons because I've never heard about that before.

My repeat PAP is tomorrow, so bumping up my folic acid isn't going to help me for that. If the results come back less than good, I'll probably start popping more vitamins. Do you know if the makers of Papillex offer any kind of "trial" package? You know, like a 7 day supply to see how your body handles it. I once tried an herbal treatment for something else, but it gave me terrible d*arrhea so I had to stop taking it. Papillex has so many herbs and other natural ingredients that I'd like to see how my body handles it before ordering a larger supply.

How long have you had HPV? What type do you have? What treatments have you had? I'll tell you my story too, if you want to know.
Avatar universal
When the vaginal walls are dry (beginning/ending of periods) the skin is drier and the using of tampons CAN cause tears allowing easier access for ANY infection/virus. Also same for sex..so you may want to use lub and/or condoms. I just decided that for four/five days a pad is ok..

I've started using Papillex on Oct.16th...( I was diagnosed on Sept 28th w/ high risk hpv and a normal PAP..going back in 6 months..end of march or beginning of April) Luckily I haven't had any side effects..found out about it from two other hpv support groups that i belong to..figured it couldn't hurt and right now it at least makes me feel like I'm doing something proactive to help "clear" the virus. It is pricey..but i was figuring that it's cheaper than buying supplements seperately. You'd have to caontact them about trials..I don't know. Luckily, so far, I haven't needed/had any procedures..

Avatar universal
I am reading this conversation thank you all its really helpful! I want to as you about Papillex. How much do u pay for it and what is their website....I would be more than glad if you relpy!!!!!
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