Confusion over HPV clearance?

Questions and discussion about contraception, safer sex, STIs, sexual healthcare and other sexual health issues.
pinkgiraffe1
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Confusion over HPV clearance?

Unread post by pinkgiraffe1 »

Hi there,

Hoping to clarify some confusion over HPV!


In 2014, I was diagnosed with a few small genital warts. I had them frozen off by my doctor. I had a check up one month later and there was no sign of any warts and since then I have never had another reoccurrence. My OBGYN said if I had no reoccurrence within 6 months, I was likely fine, and within 24 months, my body would have cleared the virus.

I first was intimate with my partner around 9 months after my warts were frozen off. My doctor explained I had no need to disclose this as I had cleared the virus and there was no risk.

My partner has found a small freckle like spot on their genitals. For me, the warts were close to my skin colour, but this mark is pretty much dark brown / black and my partner has pale skin. I'm now worried I could have given HPV to my partner unintentionally - my OBGYN said it was clear, and I believed them.

I asked a new doctor since I've moved, and they stated the virus never leaves the body, so I could have done this. But apparently it is rare for it to take 6 years for warts to appear, making me wonder if my partner could have been unfaithful?

I just wanted to clarify the risk I could have passed HPV on to my partner 9 months after having them frozen, and the likelihood of this? And does the body tend to shed the virus? OR could it have taken this long for my partner to show symptoms?

I feel awful that I did not disclose and could potentially have put my partner at risk.

Thank you!
Alice M.
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Re: Confusion over HPV clearance?

Unread post by Alice M. »

Hi there!

I'm so sorry for the confusions and stress about this. There are so many misconceptions about HPV out there, I understand how it can be confusing and stressing.

Here is a quote from The STI Files: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) (which I recommend that you read for even more information):
There is no cure for HPV but around 90 percent of people clear the infection on their own within two years. Unfortunately, there is no test that can tell you whether or not you’ve cleared the infection. If you’ve ever had genital warts or been told that you have HPV, your safest bet is to assume that you can spread it to other people, especially for the first two years after diagnosis.
So, it's quite unfortunate that you can't find out for sure that your body cleared HPV, even though we know it's probable that you cleared it.

That said, finding one bump and leaping to HPV transmission and/or partner being dishonest does not sound necessary to me at this point. Sometimes people just get bumps, pimples or other types of skin things. Are they concerned about this bump? Are they able to speak to a doctor about it? I know that in-person doctor appointments are not easy or even possible in many places right now, but perhaps they could reach out and try for a chat or video appointment?
pinkgiraffe1
newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:44 am
Age: 27
Preferred pronouns: she/her
Location: ..

Re: Confusion over HPV clearance?

Unread post by pinkgiraffe1 »

Hi Alice,

Thank you so much for replying! I had looked at that post and it definitely made me feel much more at ease. HPV is just so mysterious with everyone saying different things! I do hope that I have cleared the virus over 5 years :)

I know - my mind just jumped to worst case scenario! My partner told me they had found 'a freckle or mole' which is dark brown / black. My warts were the same colour as my skin and everything I've read says they tend to look more like this than moles especially on pale skin. My partner can be quite paranoid though, and whilst I know I've not done anything wrong, if they were to be warts I know they would accuse me of being unfaithful etc which I haven't been. I just worry about the issues it could cause with their anger / cold shoulder if it was and I think my mind just jumped to worst case scenario. I've told them if it gets any different or larger to have it checked, and they've agreed but I very much worry!

Thank you again. x
Alice M.
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:42 pm
Age: 33
Awesomeness Quotient: my boundaries
Primary language: English
Preferred pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: bi/pan
Location: Seattle

Re: Confusion over HPV clearance?

Unread post by Alice M. »

Hi,

You're most welcome, and I genuinely understand the anxiety. It does feel mysterious! In part because HPV research is still so ongoing.

It sounds like you have a solid plan in place. Please free to keep talking about your relationship dynamics if you have concerns there, here or in a new thread if this situation progresses (or even if it doesn't).

Take care.
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