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Avatar universal

hpv questions

hi doc,

i was reading the other day that 1 hallmark of cancer-causing hpv is if it stays around a long time. I am now a bit worried.

i had genital warts on my penis treated by surgery 2 years ago. Before surgery i had them for over a year. I started treating them with aldara cream and at first they seemed to go away after about 6 or 8 weeks maybe. But they came back. This time they were resistant to aldara and they got pretty big and ugly. my urologist said we shoudl do surgery and send for pathology just to rule out cancer. anyways, they came back as condyloma.

i am wondering though:
         1) as they stayed around for so long is it more likely a cancer-causing hpv virus?
         2) my mom actually got cervical cancer when she was in her 30s. could there be something wrong with our immune systems that predisposes us to problems with hpv?
        3) i have been wart free for almost 2 years. Is there any reason to discuss this with future sex partners (advise them) or with former sex partners before i got diagnosed with warts (if I understand correctly I could have been carrying the virus around for a while before i actually was diagnosed with the warts you could see).

By the way, thought the surgery worked i swear it was also me quitting smoking, drinking way less, eating healthier and getting exercise that also fianlly made the warts go away for good. Thats when everythign seemed to clear.

anyway, thanks!
7 Responses
239123 tn?1267651214
I'll go directly to your questions. The bottom line is that you have no worries about high risk HPV types.  You probably have had one or more high risk HPV infections, since most of us have.  It's a normal consequence of being a sexually active human being.

1) Almost all genital warts are caused by HPV types 6 and 11.  That your warts lasted longer than average does not suggest they were due to a high risk type of HPV.

2) There is no known genetic predisposition to HPV of any type, or to progression of HPV infections to cancer.

3) Once genital warts are gone and do not recur for 3-6 months, they rarely come back.  Most HPV infections clear up entirely within that time.  Therefore, most experts agree that people in your situation have no ethical obligation to inform future sex partners of your past infection, and that also is my opinion.

Congratulations on your healthier lifestyle.  Most likely those changes made no difference in clearing your warts, but they will bring excellent health benefits in other ways over the long run.  If having genital warts brought those changes, then on balance it probably was good you had them.

As to your question below:  That you had many sex partners increases the chance that you have been infected with one or more high risk HPV types.  The high risk types are very common and most sexually active people catch one or more such infections somwhere along the line.  The large majority of those infections go away without ever causing symptoms, especially in men.  So at this point, the odds are good that you'll never have another health problem with HPV of any type.

I hope this helps.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD
Avatar universal
oh one other thing...the other reason i worried about it being maybe cancer causing is that i used to sleep around a lot. i changed that too.
Avatar universal
thanks very much doc. really helpful.

I just have 1 more question, for interests' sake more than anything else because I am confused. It regards "high risk" and "low risk" HPV. Some info out there says low risk never causes cancer or does not cause it. other info says low-risk is much less likely to or rarely does. which is right?
Avatar universal
sorry, not sure if i'm supposed to indicate who the question was for. i left it blank. Have a good day and thanks again.
239123 tn?1267651214
The low and high risk designations are not absolute.  Few malignancies are caused by low risk types, but once in a while they may be involved, perhaps especially in certain genital area skin cancers. "Never" and "always" are dangerous words in judging clinical risks; there are few absolutes in medicine.
Avatar universal
ok thanks doc. got it.

Just in regards to my 3rd question in the original post: probably no need or use in telling the partners I had before I got diagnosed? (say within a month or two)?

Thats it, i promise!
239123 tn?1267651214
I see no point in saying anything to partners a couple of years ago, when you were first diagnosed.
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