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Can HPV go away on its own?

By Anonymous April 13, 2009 - 1:08pm
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I was just diagnosed as being positive for HPV and will have a culposcopy in a few days. I've done some research and have read that once you have HPV that it will never go away. But I asked the nurse at my doctor's office and she said that in some cases, the HPV will just go away and your body will recover on its own. If that's the case, how often does that occur? What are my chances that my HPV will just eventually go away?

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EmpowHER Guest

I appreciate all the comments and serious concerns throughout these comments. What I have noticed is that many are young women and although I do not want to add to anyone's level of stress over this subject I must share some of my own experiences as a women of 56 years of age because there certainly is a lack of education on this subject even within the medical profession.
I had a full hysterectomy at the age of 19 so most doctors would not think or recommend pap smears as I don't have a cervix. I have been tested for HPV throughout my life and never shown a positive result until a recent skin biopsy.
I have had numerous skin cancers removed (over 130 to date both BCC and SCC's) and am very well educated on the detection of these lesions. So when I detected what appeared to be skin cancer in the perianal and vaginal region I had biopsies immediately. The lesions did appear similar to warts in some respects but the actual diagnosis is SCC in situ which means “When the cancerous cells are confined to the epithelium (outside layers of the tissue), the lesion is called SCC in situ.”. This is caused by one of the HPV virus's and while not deadly must be removed and further investigation needed because in some cases they can metastasize leading to cancer in other parts of the body.
Although happily married to my current partner for 16 years due to other health complications I have not had an active sex life for over 12 years. SCC in situ is quite commonly found in elderly women after the age of about 65 and can be a precursor to vaginal, vulva, anal and other cancer. I have never engaged in anal sex yet further examinations have found these wart type lesions in the anal canal which will also require surgical removal. I'm currently awaiting further biopsy results to confirm if there is evidence that the cancer cells have infiltrated deeper into the tissue if so treatment will be more severe and complicated.
I'm lucky enough to be in the hands of one of the world’s leading specialists in this field and therefore the most recent and often unpublished research data. Who has recommended that I have 3 Gardisil vaccinations beginning straight away because she has seen great reduction in recurrences even in people my age and old using this as a support treatment (and yes I'm well aware of the controversies regarding such vaccines). I will need to be checked every 3 to 6 months for life and may need more surgeries depending on the outcomes in the next few weeks.
I've learnt there is a major lack of professional education in this field because no one is really warning older women that they may never show positive for the HPV virus but can develop these cancers and in many cases they will have metastasized and spread to areas such as the liver before they are diagnosed with cancer.
It is true that over 80% of the community (over the age of 16) carry the HPV virus, many will never have a symptom but PLEASE be vigilant for the rest of your life (I showed no signs or symptoms until 55 years old and many will be much older before they are even aware of this virus and its potential ill affects).
Do not let stigma of it being referred to as a STD make you feel embarrassed to seek immediate medical attention. DO NOT believe in lists (as I've seen on this site and others) about risk factors and think just because you don't fit into them you are not at risk. I personally don't fit 99% of the risk categories but yes I have had sex and am not ashamed of it. DON'T delay in seeking treatment because I also lost a family member at the age of 56 because of cancer caused by the HPV virus which went undiagnosed for 2 years. There is often a genetic predisposition to it. TALK openly about it with your friends and family no matter what age ......you may save a life. IT is especially important that not only the young but the middle aged and elderly are aware these viruses can cause cancer much later in life…. (sorry but there is NO safe period as has been previously referred to in comments…..warts or SCC in situ can appear many decades after you have contracted the virus and the virus may not show up in test results for decades after being infected or it can show up and then seem clear for decades and reappear). Smoking is a definite risk factor because of the long term effects on your overall health.
DON’T panic or stress as this will only make you less healthy overall. DON’T get angry at having the virus……you are in the majority of the population. SEEK as many medical opinions you need to feel satisfied you are being cared for and supported as you deserve. I have 2 surgeons, 2 GP’s (one holistic and one conventional both open minded to my choices of treatment), 1 sexual health expert, and 1 Professor of dermatology all working together to get me the best results but I make all my own decisions regarding treatment and the risks I will take. DON”T skimp on expense when it comes to your health……that new dress or shoes won’t save your life but a good doctor can.

April 23, 2015 - 8:53pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Great writings and information. I wrote a lot of information just yesterday. I have been STD free until 2 years ago. I am 52. I also mentioned as an example, a 48 year old woman getting a divorce can still benefit from the HPV vaccination. I agree. I am glad for you to have the knowledge, self awareness, funds, support, allowing to put yourself first when life calls you to do so. That alone is hard for many women. My stand on it was to not have sex for 2 years to see if it would go away on it's own as the doctors say it could happen (and I MORE than get the dormant issue-wrote about that too already). But it was still there. And I asked my doctor. I said. Well doctor, please forgive my bluntness. I haven't had sex for two years while I waited to see what might go on there. I do not know how to have a sex life with all the precautions that would be needed to protect both parties. Besides condoms and oral dams, what is there? He said he knew of nothing more other than abstinence. And then he said...and THOSE concerns are EXACTLY why 80% of the population have it. They are not willing to take all the precautions that would be needed. I nodded and left knowing all that I knew. That my kids dad nearly died of it (stage 4 throat cancer I wrote yesterday in one long blog). I don't feel able to put my sexual wants and wishes before another person's needs. So, I will play it slow. Any man I interact with sexually will know far in advance what is going on. LADIES, even if you and a man both have HPV, you could very likely have a different strain of HPV. There are about 20 strains that cause oral/cervical cancer. So if he had (just making numbers up) #112 and #114 and you had just #18 you're just adding fuel to the fire. There ARE a ton of inventive ways to have unlimited fun. Toys may be one thing to consider that can add to the joy of it. Condoms (never lambskin as they transmit STD's. Lambskin condoms ONLY prevent pregnancy, nothing else)..Condoms come in fun colors and flavors (none for eating if you are avoiding spreading things).. HANDS are quite safe. Wash well before they are going to another zone and when all done :) hehehe. Alright. Have fun, eat well, Read the lady's note right behind this one and the long one before that and you have some really good food for thought.

April 24, 2015 - 9:25am
EmpowHER Guest

I am sorry to say there is a ton of wrong information on here. My ex-husband got oral cancer found to be cause by HPV. They can tell you exactly which strain #('s) you have. He had 2. He had stage 4 throat cancer. After serious surgery, radiation to the limit allowed in a lifetime, and chemo, he has been cancer free for over 5 years. He is VERY fortunate. I did an intensive 6 months of research on this. I had us both go to see the Dr. at the head of the CDC. He knows ALL the known facts on it. I asked...if husband was exposed up to 20 years ago as they say, could my children have it from baby kisses to sharing a cookie, and what about me? The Dr at the Center for Disease Control said that there has never yet been a baby/child found with a HVP diagnosis due to a parent's diagnosis. Then about me. He said since I've had negative paps all those years that were clean, I'm not infected as far as anyone can know. There are over 150 strains of HPV. HPV cause warts. Everyone everywhere everyday touch a strain of HPV. That's how you get a wart on your hand from touching a cart etc. Not all HPV is formed in mucous membranes. There are about 20 known strains that can cause oral or cervical cancer (you can ask your doctor to ask the company that did the virus check what strain you have if you want to know). Now most people who get exposed kill it on their own in 6 mos to 2 years. If your body doesn't conquer it, it can sort of bore in and slowly over time turn cells into cancer (a LOT more cervical cancer that oral cancer as far as a diagnosis goes. But in men, oral HPV cancer is 5% of mouth /throat cancer. Smoking and drinking are typically what causes these cancers). Now, once a woman has HPV, it can and likely will, go dormant. That does NOT mean it's gone. MOST likely, it NEVER will be gone. This is why 80%, YES EIGHTY % of the sexually active adults have HPV. Yet 80% of those women do NOT get cancer. So, no freaking out. Culposcopy's are a diagnostic tool ONLY. It is not removing the HPV. You can have HVP sites on the walls of your vagina and around the cervix. And when they do the freezing of your cervix when you have had a diagnosis requiring treatment to help kill virus in that area, it is NOT a cure. THERE ARE NO CURES for HVP. If your doctor says there is a cure, you need to get a second opinion at a Gynecology clinic. Some people get no symptoms, no warts, and they have it. Men can have it and no warts but he is a carrier.
PREVENTION: Slow sexual experiences to monogamous relationships and both get checked before you start sex. Women can get oral cancer from men if he has hpv and you go there with your mouth. Don't even do THAT without you both getting checked.

MYTH/MISUNDERSTANDING: Try to follow this because it trips up everybody. If you have a test for HVP and it says you DO HAVE it, that is a correct diagnosis.
If you get a test for HVP and it says it did FIND HPV (even if you hear it as 'you don't have hpv', that is not absolute. It means they COULDN'T find it in THAT biopsy. So if a man gives you a clean bill of STD health, two things they can't say FOR SURE is, Herpes...they can only diagnosis if they see a blister on his parts. A woman can have herpes and not ever know for years and years if it stays internal. Some women find out they have that when they can't get pregnant and the herpes has done some scaring.
So it is the same with HPV...Positive or Yes you have it...is a TRUE and ABSOLUTE diagnosis. ANYONE who get a "negative" HPV...ONLY MEANS "we can't see it in the cells you sent". You need to use you EYES. DON'T listen to the "Oh..that is just a mark from getting caught in my zipper about 3 years ago. ..." He MAY mean it. He may believe it. But marks, red area of skin smaller that a dime, not even a wart..just a red sore looking splotch... could be a nearly healed wart.

I don't thing Guys are out there lying to us trying to infect us. But, fact is, more women die of it than men by a HUGE factor. Guys don't know if they have it in their mouth. It can take 2-20 years for cancer to show up orally. SO, "negative" doesn't mean "absolutely no virus" it means "couldn't find it in this cell specimen". OKay?

If you have had sex, you've already blown your best bet with the vaccine, cuz you won't know right away if you got HPV from the first guy...unless you both were young and you are really super sure you were his first.
MYTH: only girls young teens to 24 can get the vaccine. FALSE. INSURANCE will only cover the cost of girls (possibly boys now too. Australia has been vaccinating the boys for over 10-15 years now.) A woman who is 48 can get HPV vaccine if she wants to pay for it. Don't expect your doctor to support you on it. But, maybe you are getting a divorce and have never ever had sex with anyone but your husband, and you have never had STD's or HPV. Personally, I'd get the vaccine. On the other hand... if you've had encounters enough to expose you to the facts, 4 out of 5 guys have it, then you may want to keep your money for condoms.

Above are facts from the CDC and Mayo Clinic and a ton of research. Next, my OPINION.

The vaccine: My doctor wanted to vaccinate my young teen. Her dad even had cancer from HPV. There were concerns about a certain number of young girls having a life altering disfiguring reaction to the virus. I had an appt to get my daughter this hpv vaccine although I knew and was right, she would not have sex on her own before the 5 years were up. Well..the day i was suppose to get it... news came out with major networks that hpv vaccine is being investigated for safety and effectiveness. So we cancelled it. On the news was a girl with her whole face scared and bubbled and so sad, it really was hideous for a child of that age. All children are beautiful. But inside HER heart..you all know how she felt, the shock, horror, grief, sadness.... and was probably like my daughter... wasn't going to use it in time for it to benefit her.
PLUS AIDS is passed the same way HPV is. SO if you have HPV you also COULD have (not saying you do...) but you had bare sex and could have caught anything.

Yes, hpv sufferers all may, and I hope will, have times of dormancy. But you will never not have it. You will always have it for the rest of your life... or until a cure is found.

I watched a loved one nearly die from it. I saw what it did to my family. I watched doctors say things they were wrong on that I had to correct them, and they got back to me and said I was right. I have a nursing background and I studied every angle of this I could. I feel knowledge is power.

DON'T let a guy talk you into no condom cuz he got a negative hpv test. I told a guy that two years ago. He argued with me for 2 days. Then he finally caught on. Then we went on a few dates. Never even kissed him (oral hpv freaks me out a lil..but you don't have to worry about it if you don't want to...it's my lil' bit overboard thing..but after seeing what I saw...I'm not giving any guy a polite kiss cuz he bought dinner. Just not worth what COULD happen. I hold kisses for a man I know and trust. OH yeah...and that guy who didn't get it and i didn't kiss, and he said he'd not had sex in 6 months, i told him lets be friends. It's not feeling right for a couple ok?. Sure he says. THEN he tells me he had to move in with his ex cuz of problems with whatever.. and honest to Goodness...this man tells me... I asked if he sleeps with her. "Oh, NO it's not like that. Well, whenever i come over and give her help and watch the kids, she likes the help. I don't ask for it but she gives me a B._. (fill in the letter). I was upset to say the least. "So every week you get a _.J?" " Yeah, but i don't ask for it, she just comes over and does it when i watch tv"> I said he was a gross lying pig and to never contact me again. He says "What? I thought you said we were friends?" "I THOUGHT you said you were an honest guy!" And THAT can happen to you. The end. This is a true story. This is a TRUE story.

Hugs to all you ladies trying to make it through the time in life where we have all these hidden virus' and no answer. I pray in a decade they have vaccines that really work. I pray that our Grand children don't have to worry about 16 different viral killers. Ladies, we are on the blinded side of things concerning sex cuz our stuff is hidden. Take care.

April 22, 2015 - 11:29pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you great information

January 15, 2016 - 9:00pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

The last note I just put in, I wrote "DID" find HPV..... where I meant "DIDN'T find HPV".... this is the paragraph corrected:

If you get a test for HVP and it says it DIDN'T FIND HPV (even if you hear it as 'you don't have hpv', that is not absolute. It means they COULDN'T find it in THAT biopsy.

April 22, 2015 - 11:46pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hi, in early 2013 I found a few warts around my vulva, and after some freezing it went away. My boyfriend of two years and I then started having unprotected sex again and now he has warts on him as well. He is going in to the doctors to get them check out. I am just wondering if any of the ladies here who 'recovered' from hpv ever attempted unprotected sex again with their men and never have to face the wraith of warts?

November 27, 2013 - 10:38am

Great news ladies!I was diagnosed with HPV 9 months ago in January. I got a colposcopy right away and now it is gone. I still have to follow up every year but maintaining good spirits and a good immune system is key.

October 6, 2013 - 8:33am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to clarice2311)

Hi Clarice. Any updates on your status?

May 8, 2016 - 1:51pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to clarice2311)

I was diagnosed with high-risk HPV via DNA test in 1999 when I found out I was pregnant for my first child. They did my first colposcopy and LEEP 6 weeks after her birth in 2000. I had no issues for 6 years when I met my soon to be ex-husband, who had low-risk HPV. We had unprotected sex, and as soon as my immune system started fighting that version of HPV, mine reared its ugly head and I ended up with pre-cancerous cell changes in my cervix. I was told to have a hysterectomy as soon as I was done having children. I got pregnant 6 months later, gave birth to a healthy boy and haven't had a problem since. That was 7 1/2 years ago. Now, I'm an Oncology nurse and I understand how some of these viruses work. HPV attaches itself to your DNA, which is how it can cause cell mutations leading to cancer. Like many viruses, such as HIV and Epstein Barr (mono), this virus doesn't "clear," it gets suppressed by a strong immune system and goes dormant, kind of like many cancers after chemo. However, as soon as the body and immune system get put under too much pressure, the virus can pop back up when you least expect it, especially if you think it's gone. While guys might not know they have it, and might not share that info if they do, always use a condom, either latex or comparable substitute, NEVER sheepskin, they don't protect against STDs. I dated a guy that knowingly slept with me unprotected, then slept with his next girlfriend unprotected and she ended up with cancer.

December 22, 2014 - 4:41pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to clarice2311)

Praise god! God bless you

August 26, 2014 - 2:47am
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