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The common cold of the sexually active world: HPV

Let’s talk HPV—causes, treatments, and prevention.

by Robin Wallace, MD

One of my patients’ most common questions is, “Um, I’ve got some new bumps...down there. Can you check them out?”

First off, if you ever notice something of concern “down there,” please go see your doctor or nurse and get it checked out right away. Often these new bumps are harmless, caused by ingrown hairs. Other times they are just pesky genital warts… That’s right: genital warts aren’t as bad as you think. They are caused by HPV, short for human papillomavirus.

Let’s talk causes, treatments and prevention for genital warts and other flavors of HPV.

Human papillo-whatsit?

HPV is one of the most common viruses around. There are more than 40 different types (or strains) of HPV that prefer to hang out around genitalia, including the vagina, penis and around the anus. The virus can also survive on any skin or object that’s recently touched genitalia.

HPV can be passed from one person to another without actual sex—just by intimate touching or sharing sex toys—so this virus really gets around! In fact, 80 percent of men and women who have had sex even once have had some type of HPV. That’s four out of every five people!

Most people who have HPV never know it. Like all other viruses, there is no cure for HPV, but there are good treatments for the symptoms. Just to be clear, HPV is totally unrelated to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and HSV (herpes simplex virus).

What kind of problems can HPV cause?

Each of the 40 different types of HPV act differently. Some HPV types cause genital warts, which are raised flesh-colored bumps around your vagina, penis, or anus. Most of the time warts are not painful. Sometimes they are itchy, and they can be annoying or embarrassing. The types of HPV that cause genital warts do not cause cancer.

Other types of HPV will cause changes in a woman’s cervix (the opening to her uterus or womb). Often these changes come and go without her ever knowing, but a few types of HPV can linger, leading to long-term changes and ultimately cervical cancer. It takes many years for cervical cancer to develop, which is why regular check-ups and Pap smears after age 21 are recommended. A Pap smear will catch the changes in the cervix, and regular check-ups will ensure the right treatment at the right time.

How do I get rid of warts? Or an abnormal Pap smear?

HPV is a tough virus, but our immune systems are usually tougher. Our bodies start fighting off the virus immediately. When your body conquers the virus, it then has antibodies that protect against that type of HPV. (But not against the 39 other HPV types.)

For some people, genital warts will go away on their own within 3 months. If the warts don’t go away or you want them to go away faster, see your doctor or nurse. They may be able to treat the genital warts that day, usually by freezing the warts or applying a chemical to them. You can also get a prescription gel or liquid medicine that you use at home, usually clearing up the warts in a few weeks. All of these treatments get rid of the warts by irritating them, so be prepared for some discomfort.

An abnormal Pap smear can mean a lot of different things, so be sure to ask your doctor or nurse to explain the results and the recommended treatment completely. Often your body will heal itself and your next Pap smear will be normal. Sometimes you will need a more thorough exam of your cervix, called colposcopy, or a treatment to your cervix directly.

How do I know who gave it to me?

You won’t. If you have an outbreak of warts or an abnormal Pap smear, it could be from HPV you got weeks, months, or even years before. I know this is hard; most of my patients really want to know exactly how it happened. Did I have sex for the first time with someone who sleeps around? Is my boyfriend/girlfriend all of a sudden cheating on me? But I promise, this is one of many times in life when blaming someone just doesn't do any good.

Preventing HPV

There are some things you can do to reduce your risk of getting HPV:

  1. Get vaccinated! There are vaccines against some of the most common types of HPV that cause genital warts and cervical cancer. Talk with your doctor or nurse about whether you are the right age for vaccination. It works best if you get vaccinated before you have sex for the first time, but getting the shot when you’re older may still be helpful.
  2. Smart sex…if at all. The only surefire way to prevent HPV infection is to abstain from sex and genital contact. Research shows that the fewer sex partners a person has in her or his lifetime—especially during the teens and twenties—the less risk she or he has of multiple HPV infections.
  3. Use condoms! HPV cannot pass through a latex condom. But this is the kicker: HPV is frequently carried on skin not covered by condoms. So condoms can help prevent HPV, but they’re not a guarantee.

Remember, HPV will affect almost everyone you know! So being told you have it is no big deal… It’s the common cold of the sexually active world.

Robin Wallace, MD, is a Family Physician for the San Francisco Department of Public Health and is currently a clinical fellow in Family Planning at the University of California, San Francisco. As the middle of three daughters in her family, she has always been a passionate advocate for girl power and women's health, and appeared as Captain Contraception for a super heroes party in medical school.

just to be clear, it is an STD, right? you don't have it if you are a virgin, guaranteed?

2011-07-16 06:11:29 UTC

guest

Hi, and thanks for your question. Yes, the types of HPV that are associated with cervical cancer and genital warts are sexually transmitted infections.  The virus can be transmitted by penis-vagina sex or sharing sex toys.  HPV can also be transmitted from the genitals to the throat during oral sex, and there is some evidence linking HPV to throat cancer.  If someone has never done any of these things, they would not have these worrisome strains of HPV.  But there are also lots of types of HPV that are not sexually transmitted—like the type that causes warts on the feet or hands.  Having one of these types of HPV can happen at any time, regardless of sexual activity. 

2011-08-02 23:14:13 UTC

Robin Wallace

How does a girl who is having sex with another girl protect herself (or her partner if she already has it) from HPV?

2012-01-12 02:29:15 UTC

Anonymous

 Getting vaccinated against HPV before having sex would give any woman the best protection against HPV, whether her partner is female or male.  There is evidence that barriers like condoms and dental dams help protect against HPV, but they are not totally effective protection.  Barriers may be less effective at protecting against HPV because the virus lives on skin on and around genitals—and covering all of that area can be a challenge!  If you decide to use barriers, condoms on toys and gloves on hands used during genital touching may help.

2012-01-31 18:44:28 UTC

Robin Wallace

I believe we protect our self by not touching to many ppl, im 33 and I dont go out, just work and school, I avoid ppl because maybe they got something I teach my son how he also dont let his friends come close and breath or caugh near him Less ppl we have to b around that's how I stay healthy, I do have. Friends and. Believe. Me in NY no one is so affectionate

2013-02-05 13:58:51 UTC

sanyluka@gmail.com

I believe we protect our self by not touching to many ppl, im 33 and I dont go out, just work and school, I avoid ppl because maybe they got something I teach my son how he also dont let his friends come close and breath or caugh near him Less ppl we have to b around that's how I stay healthy, I do have. Friends and. Believe. Me in NY no one is so affectionate

2013-02-05 13:58:51 UTC

sanyluka@gmail.com

I believe we protect our self by not touching to many ppl, im 33 and I dont go out, just work and school, I avoid ppl because maybe they got something I teach my son how he also dont let his friends come close and breath or caugh near him Less ppl we have to b around that's how I stay healthy, I do have. Friends and. Believe. Me in NY no one is so affectionate

2013-02-05 13:58:51 UTC

sanyluka@gmail.com

I believe we protect our self by not touching to many ppl, im 33 and I dont go out, just work and school, I avoid ppl because maybe they got something I teach my son how he also dont let his friends come close and breath or caugh near him Less ppl we have to b around that's how I stay healthy, I do have. Friends and. Believe. Me in NY no one is so affectionate

2013-02-05 13:58:51 UTC

sanyluka@gmail.com

Thanks for your question! HPV is a commonly occurring virus, but it is never airborne and it is very different from the serious bacterial infection known as MRSA. We think HPV can be transmitted from one person to another during sexual intimacy on objects, but only if they are immediately passed from an infected person to another. If an object is cleaned or left to dry, the virus cannot likely survive, so you don't have to worry about catching HPV from toilet seats or other surfaces you may come into casual contact with.

2013-02-07 21:57:50 UTC

Robin Wallace

Thanks for your question! HPV is a commonly occurring virus, but it is never airborne and it is very different from the serious bacterial infection known as MRSA. We think HPV can be transmitted from one person to another during sexual intimacy on objects, but only if they are immediately passed from an infected person to another. If an object is cleaned or left to dry, the virus cannot likely survive, so you don't have to worry about catching HPV from toilet seats or other surfaces you may come into casual contact with.

2013-02-07 21:57:50 UTC

Robin Wallace

Your life sounds great.

2013-04-04 13:08:24 UTC

Elizabeth C

Your life sounds great.

2013-04-04 13:08:24 UTC

Elizabeth C

That depends on the strain of the virus you got, and how well your body cleared it on its own. During the original infection, our bodies' immune systems recognize that strain of the virus and—if everything is working well—we become immune to it. If our bodies have trouble clearing the virus, sometimes we continue to have it. The vaccine causes the same immune system process without the infection, so if your body cleared the original infection and you received the vaccine, you should be protected against all those strains of HPV. RE your second question, there are cases when getting the vaccine still makes sense for women over age 26. However, when doctors prescribe something outside of the FDA recommendations, insurance plans often won't cover it. That can mean a large out-of-pocket cost. Talk with your healthcare provider to learn whether it makes sense for you and find out what it may cost.

2013-06-28 20:31:54 UTC

Robin Wallace

Vaccines are a great protection against genital warts, but they're not 100% foolproof. The vaccine protects against the most common strains of the virus that cause warts, but it doesn't protect against all of them. If you are exposed to one of the uncommon strains that the vaccine does not protect against, you could still have a breakout.

2013-06-28 20:38:40 UTC

Robin Wallace

That depends on the strain of the virus you got, and how well your body cleared it on its own. During the original infection, our bodies' immune systems recognize that strain of the virus and—if everything is working well—we become immune to it. If our bodies have trouble clearing the virus, sometimes we continue to have it. The vaccine causes the same immune system process without the infection, so if your body cleared the original infection and you received the vaccine, you should be protected against all those strains of HPV. RE your second question, there are cases when getting the vaccine still makes sense for women over age 26. However, when doctors prescribe something outside of the FDA recommendations, insurance plans often won't cover it. That can mean a large out-of-pocket cost. Talk with your healthcare provider to learn whether it makes sense for you and find out what it may cost.

2013-06-28 20:31:54 UTC

Robin Wallace

Vaccines are a great protection against genital warts, but they're not 100% foolproof. The vaccine protects against the most common strains of the virus that cause warts, but it doesn't protect against all of them. If you are exposed to one of the uncommon strains that the vaccine does not protect against, you could still have a breakout.

2013-06-28 20:38:40 UTC

Robin Wallace

Thanks for your question, Lil. The cause of nearly all cervical cancers is HPV. If a woman has or is exposed to one of the types of HPV associated with cancer while she's using the ring for birth control, there is no evidence that the ring affects the HPV infection. However, a long-forgotten vaginal ring may lead to other types of infections in the vagina.

2013-07-01 17:29:53 UTC

Robin Wallace

Thanks for your question, Lil. The cause of nearly all cervical cancers is HPV. If a woman has or is exposed to one of the types of HPV associated with cancer while she's using the ring for birth control, there is no evidence that the ring affects the HPV infection. However, a long-forgotten vaginal ring may lead to other types of infections in the vagina.

2013-07-01 17:29:53 UTC

Robin Wallace

Thanks for your question, Lil. The cause of nearly all cervical cancers is HPV. If a woman has or is exposed to one of the types of HPV associated with cancer while she's using the ring for birth control, there is no evidence that the ring affects the HPV infection. However, a long-forgotten vaginal ring may lead to other types of infections in the vagina.

2013-07-01 17:29:53 UTC

Robin Wallace

Dear Heather, Very good questions... as with many viruses, it is difficult to pronounce someone cured from HPV. It may be safer to think of it as remission. If you do not have any symptoms (ie: warts) for over 3 months, and you are otherwise healthy, it is very likely that your body's immune system conquered the virus and your warts will not reappear. This also means that you are probably not able to transmit the virus or infect someone else. Exceptions happen when people have weakened immune systems, such as in HIV infection, when warts from HPV can continue to reappear even after long periods of not having them. It is a very personal decision whether you inform past or future partners about your HPV outbreak. Depending on the number of partners you have had, it can be difficult or even impossible to know exactly from whom you contracted the virus. If you have an ongoing relationship with someone when the warts occur, it's probably a good idea to have a frank conversation with them. It is likely that they also have the virus, though it will again be impossible to know who had it first. Because the types of HPV that cause warts are relatively benign, many people who have been free of warts for a good amount of time do not feel compelled to tell future partners about past wart outbreaks. Others prefer to be completely honest with all partners about their sexual history when building a relationship. I recommend going by the golden rule - do unto others as you would have done unto you. If you would want to know about your partner's wart history, then maybe you tell them about yours. And remember, HPV is the common cold of the sexually active world. There is a good chance that your partner might share your same story--most of us have come across HPV at some point along the way.

2013-08-06 17:59:29 UTC

Robin Wallace

Dear Heather, Very good questions... as with many viruses, it is difficult to pronounce someone cured from HPV. It may be safer to think of it as remission. If you do not have any symptoms (ie: warts) for over 3 months, and you are otherwise healthy, it is very likely that your body's immune system conquered the virus and your warts will not reappear. This also means that you are probably not able to transmit the virus or infect someone else. Exceptions happen when people have weakened immune systems, such as in HIV infection, when warts from HPV can continue to reappear even after long periods of not having them. It is a very personal decision whether you inform past or future partners about your HPV outbreak. Depending on the number of partners you have had, it can be difficult or even impossible to know exactly from whom you contracted the virus. If you have an ongoing relationship with someone when the warts occur, it's probably a good idea to have a frank conversation with them. It is likely that they also have the virus, though it will again be impossible to know who had it first. Because the types of HPV that cause warts are relatively benign, many people who have been free of warts for a good amount of time do not feel compelled to tell future partners about past wart outbreaks. Others prefer to be completely honest with all partners about their sexual history when building a relationship. I recommend going by the golden rule - do unto others as you would have done unto you. If you would want to know about your partner's wart history, then maybe you tell them about yours. And remember, HPV is the common cold of the sexually active world. There is a good chance that your partner might share your same story--most of us have come across HPV at some point along the way.

2013-08-06 17:59:29 UTC

Robin Wallace

Thanks for your note, Taren. I'm guessing from what you wrote that you have some kind of bumps down there and that you haven't had an official diagnosis of genital warts. You should definitely get this checked out. Sometimes bumps are nothing serious, sometimes they are more complicated. A health care provider can help figure out what kind of bumps they are and how to treat them. There are many kinds of bumps that have nothing to do with sex or fooling around. Knowing that may make it easier to talk to your mom about your concerns. I imagine it would be nice to have your mom's help and support when you go to get checked out, but if you're really not comfortable talking to her, remember you can always get medical care confidentially. That means your family doctor or other health care provider keeps the discussion just between you two, and your mom won't find out unless you decide to tell her yourself. If you're concerned about paying for a trip to the doctor on your own, you may be able go to a nearby clinic for free (you can find clinics in Bedsider's "Where to get it" section). The best way to find out is to call the clinic and ask. Hope that helps and best of luck!

2013-08-13 15:49:37 UTC

Robin Wallace

Thanks for your note, Taren. I'm guessing from what you wrote that you have some kind of bumps down there and that you haven't had an official diagnosis of genital warts. You should definitely get this checked out. Sometimes bumps are nothing serious, sometimes they are more complicated. A health care provider can help figure out what kind of bumps they are and how to treat them. There are many kinds of bumps that have nothing to do with sex or fooling around. Knowing that may make it easier to talk to your mom about your concerns. I imagine it would be nice to have your mom's help and support when you go to get checked out, but if you're really not comfortable talking to her, remember you can always get medical care confidentially. That means your family doctor or other health care provider keeps the discussion just between you two, and your mom won't find out unless you decide to tell her yourself. If you're concerned about paying for a trip to the doctor on your own, you may be able go to a nearby clinic for free (you can find clinics in Bedsider's "Where to get it" section). The best way to find out is to call the clinic and ask. Hope that helps and best of luck!

2013-08-13 15:49:37 UTC

Robin Wallace

Hi jr hawks - thanks for your question. Since you have had this bump for 4-5 years without any change, it seems unlikely that it is a genital wart. We always recommend running health concerns by your health care provider though - it's probably a good idea to have it checked out the next time you see your provider.

2013-10-30 01:31:04 UTC

Robin Wallace

carlos ,, hey i have one question how easly can u get a std or whats the chances of getting one well this is my question i was about to have sex with a female but i didnt have a condom so i still tried it i inserted only two times and stopped n really thought bout didnt do it with her anymore but for example if the female has stds what are the chances of getting an std if i only inserted 2 times honestly

2013-12-02 17:26:27 UTC

carlos hernnandez

carlos ,, hey i have one question how easly can u get a std or whats the chances of getting one well this is my question i was about to have sex with a female but i didnt have a condom so i still tried it i inserted only two times and stopped n really thought bout didnt do it with her anymore but for example if the female has stds what are the chances of getting an std if i only inserted 2 times honestly

2013-12-02 17:26:27 UTC

carlos hernnandez

I had was infected with hpv type that causes me genit warts I treat it them all from around 1 year and a half .. Till now no warts showed is that means that I was cured ? And at this point I'm still Abel to transmit the virus? Or infect someone ? Or it's gone from my body at all .. I'm still worried about this for your kind help ..

2013-12-22 23:38:36 UTC

Jooo

Hi Carlos, Yup, it's possible. Some types of sexually transmitted infections are transmitted very easily, like gonorrhea. It's definitely a good idea to get tested, because many infections don't cause symptoms for guys. Getting tested is easy—you just need to pee in a cup.

2014-02-21 20:28:14 UTC

Robin Wallace

Hi Jerry, The two types of HPV that cause over 90% of genital warts (types 6 and 11) do not cause cancer. Research has shown that in some small portion of cases, the kinds of HPV associated with warts and the kinds associated with cancer (mainly types 16 and 18) are found together.

2014-02-21 20:30:06 UTC

Robin Wallace

Hi there, thanks for your questions. If you and your partner have been together for 5 months, it's likely that you both have HPV. It's totally possible for one of you to have warts while the other does not—each person's body reacts differently to the virus. You should wait to have sex until the warts are gone.

2014-02-21 20:31:14 UTC

Robin Wallace

Hi Jake, good news: HPV definitely does not mess with your sperm. For a woman who has HPV, in many cases it won't change her ability to get pregnant. There are some treatments for women who have advanced HPV infections that remove parts of the cervix, which is the opening of the uterus. Those treatments may make it more difficult to get pregnant down the road.

2014-02-21 20:32:59 UTC

Robin Wallace

Dear Jooo, it sounds like you haven't had any warts in a while, which is great. Unfortunately we just don't know if the virus is still hanging around, or if you could possibly pass it to someone else. You may also want to consider getting the vaccine Gardasil if you haven't already. It protects against the most common types of HPV that cause genital warts in case you're ever exposed to other strains of HPV in the future.

2014-03-09 22:34:14 UTC

Robin Wallace

Hi atticwindow, Thanks for your question. The best way to find out if the bumps are caused by a virus or something else is for him to visit a healthcare professional. If the bumps are caused by HPV and it's already been 18 months, they're unlikely to resolve on their own. There are lots of possible treatments, some as simple as an ointment he can apply on his own (http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/genital-warts.htm#a1). There haven't been any studies of using vinegar to treat warts, although one treatment option is for a healthcare professional to apply a strong acid to the affected area. (FYI, vinegar is sometimes used to diagnose genital warts because some warts react to vinegar by turning white.) If the bumps are caused by something else, there may also be simple treatment options.

2014-04-28 19:39:27 UTC

Robin Wallace

Hi atticwindow, Thanks for your question. The best way to find out if the bumps are caused by a virus or something else is for him to visit a healthcare professional. If the bumps are caused by HPV and it's already been 18 months, they're unlikely to resolve on their own. There are lots of possible treatments, some as simple as an ointment he can apply on his own (http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/genital-warts.htm#a1). There haven't been any studies of using vinegar to treat warts, although one treatment option is for a healthcare professional to apply a strong acid to the affected area. (FYI, vinegar is sometimes used to diagnose genital warts because some warts react to vinegar by turning white.) If the bumps are caused by something else, there may also be simple treatment options.

2014-04-28 19:39:27 UTC

Robin Wallace

Hopefully you are still answering questions but I am 18 and have been sexually active. I never looked at sex and it's risks which I am deeply regretting now. Anyways, condoms have always been a must have but some have broken along the way and my current bf and I don't use them all the time. I had rough sex and I wasn't as wet as I could have been and immediately felt bumps at the bottom of my vaginal hole. I dismissed this thinking I was just torn and my body would heal on it's own. But a month later and they are still there along with bumps inside my actually vagina hole. Google is scaring me and making me extremely paranoid. I even had a breakdown because is feel like I do have the warts and I am at a loss as what to do. I am trying to get into a gynecologist but my mother is not the kind to talk to about these types of things. She doesn't even know I have sex. I have found similar pictures on Google and can post those to this if that would help. If you can answer me soon that would great. Give me an ease of mind or at least tell me what to do. Thank you.

2014-06-05 16:55:41 UTC

Steph

If I have warts, does my partner have the disease? If he has given me oral sex, will he contract it on his mouth? If the warts go away or my body heals itself, will I still always need to use condoms with my boyfriend to prevent them from contracting the disease? Lastly, could I catch the disease months after the occurence? So many questions, very worried.

2014-07-08 22:49:21 UTC

Emily

I'm not sure if you're still answering questions on here. I keep on finding conflicting info on the net about HPV and gw and would like to understand more about my situation. I recently went to get my annual pap and was told that it was abnormal and that I had a positive HPV test. They haven't told me what strain I have since for some reason they didn't test for that at the lab that my sample was sent to. I had a colposcopy with a cervical biopsy and the results came back as low grade mild cell changes to my cervix, so my ob/gyn will just follow up in a year to repeat my pap and hopefully the abnormal cells are gone. Here's my question, I have been extremely paranoid that ever since I have HPV and low grade cells on my cervix that I will develop gw, I keep reading that low grade cell changes are usually due a strain that causes gw and a high grade cell change doesn't but can cause cancer down the road. I was just reading your article above and you are saying that some hpv strains cause gw and others cause changes on the cervix, so does this mean that I have a strain that causes gw or not?? I'm so confused, please help!

2014-07-10 17:31:44 UTC

jessica

It is only fair to tell your sexual partner or partners that you have genital warts. I believe once you have them they are FOREVER and are contagious. You might meet someone who would not take a chance with you AT ALL.

2014-07-10 16:15:27 UTC

naoma

I'm not sure if you're still answering questions on here. I keep on finding conflicting info on the net about HPV and gw and would like to understand more about my situation. I recently went to get my annual pap and was told that it was abnormal and that I had a positive HPV test. They haven't told me what strain I have since for some reason they didn't test for that at the lab that my sample was sent to. I had a colposcopy with a cervical biopsy and the results came back as low grade mild cell changes to my cervix, so my ob/gyn will just follow up in a year to repeat my pap and hopefully the abnormal cells are gone. Here's my question, I have been extremely paranoid that ever since I have HPV and low grade cells on my cervix that I will develop gw, I keep reading that low grade cell changes are usually due a strain that causes gw and a high grade cell change doesn't but can cause cancer down the road. I was just reading your article above and you are saying that some hpv strains cause gw and others cause changes on the cervix, so does this mean that I have a strain that causes gw or not?? I'm so confused, please help!

2014-07-10 17:31:44 UTC

jessica

Hi Emily, your questions are very difficult to answer definitively. With HPV, it's hard to say much about specifics of transmission, since 80% of people have had some form of HPV, and an outbreak can be caused by HPV virus acquired months or even years in the past. Condoms can decrease transmission, but not prevent it completely. There are some great resources linked in the above article, and I encourage you to talk more with your health care provider.

2014-07-11 03:19:21 UTC

Colleen Krajewski, MD, MPH

Hi Emily, your questions are very difficult to answer definitively. With HPV, it's hard to say much about specifics of transmission, since 80% of people have had some form of HPV, and an outbreak can be caused by HPV virus acquired months or even years in the past. Condoms can decrease transmission, but not prevent it completely. There are some great resources linked in the above article, and I encourage you to talk more with your health care provider.

2014-07-11 03:19:21 UTC

Colleen Krajewski, MD, MPH

hi i read through all the questions and answers. lots of good information. i hope you are still answering questions. i have a couple.. i just found some bumps on my genitals. I want them to be something else so bad, but they look like warts. I know you can get it and not know it, but i had 9 partners in my early 20's, then nothing for 2 years, then a year into a new relationship i have bumps. Im very certain my girlfriend did/does not have hpv(so basically I've only had one partner, recently, in the past almost 4 years), I have not had a chance to talk to her since i found these this morning. I think she has even had the vaccine. she's 30, im 27. i have been tested for everything else, and have no diseases. I have recently had a lot of stress over the past year and have been dealing with jock itch. im wondering if i have had hpv and only seeing symptoms now that my immune system is weak. Is there a list of other possible things that could be causing these bumps? like molluscum contagiosum? if my gf had the vaccine is she at risk at all? we are in a serious relationship, (we'll see how she takes the news that i may have hpv) so is it possible for me as a male, to pass it to our possible future children? (probably my biggest concern, i want healthy happy kids someday) is it better to have the warts removed by a dermatologist, or let them go away on their own? if i have them removed, are they more likely to come back? Is it possible to get bumps from frequent anti-fungal and steriod cream use? i have never gotten warts anywhere, but my girlfriend has had them on her feet, i also had not been swimming in years until i met her, and we swim in a local public pool often. thank you so much for providing this resource, i hope to hear from you soon

2014-07-15 03:15:45 UTC

Noah

hi i read through all the questions and answers. lots of good information. i hope you are still answering questions. i have a couple.. i just found some bumps on my genitals. I want them to be something else so bad, but they look like warts. I know you can get it and not know it, but i had 9 partners in my early 20's, then nothing for 2 years, then a year into a new relationship i have bumps. Im very certain my girlfriend did/does not have hpv(so basically I've only had one partner, recently, in the past almost 4 years), I have not had a chance to talk to her since i found these this morning. I think she has even had the vaccine. she's 30, im 27. i have been tested for everything else, and have no diseases. I have recently had a lot of stress over the past year and have been dealing with jock itch. im wondering if i have had hpv and only seeing symptoms now that my immune system is weak. Is there a list of other possible things that could be causing these bumps? like molluscum contagiosum? if my gf had the vaccine is she at risk at all? we are in a serious relationship, (we'll see how she takes the news that i may have hpv) so is it possible for me as a male, to pass it to our possible future children? (probably my biggest concern, i want healthy happy kids someday) is it better to have the warts removed by a dermatologist, or let them go away on their own? if i have them removed, are they more likely to come back? Is it possible to get bumps from frequent anti-fungal and steriod cream use? i have never gotten warts anywhere, but my girlfriend has had them on her feet, i also had not been swimming in years until i met her, and we swim in a local public pool often. thank you so much for providing this resource, i hope to hear from you soon

2014-07-15 03:15:45 UTC

Noah

Hi Noah! It seems like you've read a lot. It's time you saw a health care provider, since it's not possible to tell you what your bumps are over the internet. After you get a diagnosis, you can talk to your provider about what treatment is recommended. While the quadrivalent HPV vaccine protects against the strains of HPV that cause a large portion of cervical cancer and genital warts, it is still possible to contract a strain of HPV that is not part of the vaccine. HPV is not transmitted in public swimming pools. I hope you can make an appointment soon.

2014-07-16 00:47:07 UTC

Colleen Krajewski, MD, MPH

hi i read through all the questions and answers. lots of good information. i hope you are still answering questions. i have a couple.. i just found some bumps on my genitals. I want them to be something else so bad, but they look like warts. I know you can get it and not know it, but i had 9 partners in my early 20's, then nothing for 2 years, then a year into a new relationship i have bumps. Im very certain my girlfriend did/does not have hpv(so basically I've only had one partner, recently, in the past almost 4 years), I have not had a chance to talk to her since i found these this morning. I think she has even had the vaccine. she's 30, im 27. i have been tested for everything else, and have no diseases. I have recently had a lot of stress over the past year and have been dealing with jock itch. im wondering if i have had hpv and only seeing symptoms now that my immune system is weak. Is there a list of other possible things that could be causing these bumps? like molluscum contagiosum? if my gf had the vaccine is she at risk at all? we are in a serious relationship, (we'll see how she takes the news that i may have hpv) so is it possible for me as a male, to pass it to our possible future children? (probably my biggest concern, i want healthy happy kids someday) is it better to have the warts removed by a dermatologist, or let them go away on their own? if i have them removed, are they more likely to come back? Is it possible to get bumps from frequent anti-fungal and steriod cream use? i have never gotten warts anywhere, but my girlfriend has had them on her feet, i also had not been swimming in years until i met her, and we swim in a local public pool often. thank you so much for providing this resource, i hope to hear from you soon

2014-07-15 03:15:45 UTC

Noah

Hi Noah! It seems like you've read a lot. It's time you saw a health care provider, since it's not possible to tell you what your bumps are over the internet. After you get a diagnosis, you can talk to your provider about what treatment is recommended. While the quadrivalent HPV vaccine protects against the strains of HPV that cause a large portion of cervical cancer and genital warts, it is still possible to contract a strain of HPV that is not part of the vaccine. HPV is not transmitted in public swimming pools. I hope you can make an appointment soon.

2014-07-16 00:47:07 UTC

Colleen Krajewski, MD, MPH

Hi Noah! It seems like you've read a lot. It's time you saw a health care provider, since it's not possible to tell you what your bumps are over the internet. After you get a diagnosis, you can talk to your provider about what treatment is recommended. While the quadrivalent HPV vaccine protects against the strains of HPV that cause a large portion of cervical cancer and genital warts, it is still possible to contract a strain of HPV that is not part of the vaccine. HPV is not transmitted in public swimming pools. I hope you can make an appointment soon.

2014-07-16 00:47:07 UTC

Colleen Krajewski, MD, MPH

thank you so much for your help and response! i have another few questions, if that's ok. i know i have heard that you can hpv for years and not know it, but i also read that you can get it and your body can beat it and go into remission after about 2 years. so my question is, whats the average time it takes for warts to show up after an infection? when i read that hpv takes years to show up, is that just a general reference to all strains? do the warts kind show up sooner? can boosting my immune system prevent further outbreaks? now that i know what its (i saw a health provider, " a wart is a wart, and thats hpv") if i only have one partner, and was planning on keeping it that way, (lord willing she keeps me) can we still have intercourse? we both thought we didnt have anything when we started sleeping together, we got tested, and when we got serious a little later, we started having unprotected sex, so by now, if i have it, im sure she does too. Is that assumption wrong?

2014-07-17 15:29:34 UTC

Noah

Hello, I am a guy so I might not belong here asking this question, but i'm at my wits end and I don't know what to do anymore. Over 3 years ago, I contracted genital HPV from a previous sexual partner - she apparently had been pretty busy when we split up for 2 months. I had the first series of bumps treated (burned off, left scars sadly) and I thought I was OK, but shortly after, another popped up, and then another and you guessed it, another, etc... It's been over 3 years now and they are still coming back (grant it, in much smaller quantities than the initial breakout). Is there anything I can do? As supposedly "common and no big deal" this is, I have been turned down quite a few more times than once because of being honest about it and It has literally been over 3 years since I could have a relationship with anyone because of this and I don't want to be stuck for good... Another important note - I do not have HIV. When I was diagnosed, they did the entire battery of serious STD tests, including HIV and all was negative. I am also very rarely sick, don't smoke, always take multi-vitamins, drink lots of water, etc.

2014-07-22 03:17:57 UTC

AJ

Hello, I am a guy so I might not belong here asking this question, but i'm at my wits end and I don't know what to do anymore. Over 3 years ago, I contracted genital HPV from a previous sexual partner - she apparently had been pretty busy when we split up for 2 months. I had the first series of bumps treated (burned off, left scars sadly) and I thought I was OK, but shortly after, another popped up, and then another and you guessed it, another, etc... It's been over 3 years now and they are still coming back (grant it, in much smaller quantities than the initial breakout). Is there anything I can do? As supposedly "common and no big deal" this is, I have been turned down quite a few more times than once because of being honest about it and It has literally been over 3 years since I could have a relationship with anyone because of this and I don't want to be stuck for good... Another important note - I do not have HIV. When I was diagnosed, they did the entire battery of serious STD tests, including HIV and all was negative. I am also very rarely sick, don't smoke, always take multi-vitamins, drink lots of water, etc.

2014-07-22 03:17:57 UTC

AJ

Hello, I am a guy so I might not belong here asking this question, but i'm at my wits end and I don't know what to do anymore. Over 3 years ago, I contracted genital HPV from a previous sexual partner - she apparently had been pretty busy when we split up for 2 months. I had the first series of bumps treated (burned off, left scars sadly) and I thought I was OK, but shortly after, another popped up, and then another and you guessed it, another, etc... It's been over 3 years now and they are still coming back (grant it, in much smaller quantities than the initial breakout). Is there anything I can do? As supposedly "common and no big deal" this is, I have been turned down quite a few more times than once because of being honest about it and It has literally been over 3 years since I could have a relationship with anyone because of this and I don't want to be stuck for good... Another important note - I do not have HIV. When I was diagnosed, they did the entire battery of serious STD tests, including HIV and all was negative. I am also very rarely sick, don't smoke, always take multi-vitamins, drink lots of water, etc.

2014-07-22 03:17:57 UTC

AJ

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