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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

Hi Anonymous,
Thank you for your question and you are correct that there is a lot of information out there and it is confusing. The problem with giving a definitive answer is that there are many strands of the virus. Some strands may cause warts, cervical cancer, etc. while others may sit dormant for life.

At this time, there is no cure for HPV. There is however, treatments available. Since you have visible genital warts, they can be removed by a physician and medications are also available. This information is made available through the Center of Disease Control here http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm.

What City and State do you live in? Perhaps, we can help you find a free clinic. I think it would also be helpful if you and your boyfriend sought medical advice together. Since you have not been diagnosed by a physician...I think getting you medical attention would be the first priority.

I hope this helps. Please let us help you find a free clinic.

March 26, 2011 - 9:19am
EmpowHER Guest

Last year at the age of 21 I had noticed warts starting to appear. This was around June/July I believe. I have done a lot of research from then till now on HPV cause Ive been scared this whole time. Not having medical insurance and having no free health clinics around has left me unchecked. (Still am)I had the shot given to me before going into college. But sadly,it looks like I got unlucky with a strain of HPV that isn't protected by the shot.

Ive noticed though, the warts are disappearing, from the looks of it, it is going into its dormant stage. (only three are visible, not sure about those that might have found themselves in the anus or vagina)

Im confused though from all the information ive read here, sites given, and many other health sites. (woman's health and gov sites.) Information I read was;

"The immune system will eventually develop protection against the virus, preventing HPV from leaving the cell and creating lesions, or transmitting the infection to babies or partners. Most people that get an HPV infection will have it for life, but their immune system protects them from recurrences."

"The body's immune system will erradicate the virus totally."

"Your immune system creates antibodies which attack and kill the viruses. These antibodies do stay in your body forever, but the viruses are destroyed."

"you always have the viurs, but your body fights it off to a point that its completely dormant and not contagious at that point."

1.)How many of these are true?

2.)Im very confused on what information to believe. When in dormant stage can it be contagious? Or is only contagious when active?

Im in a relationship right now and my b/f will not have sex with me. And he says he never will. I have told him a lot of information but it's still not good enough to him. I let him know how many people get it and many people get in contact with it without showing any signs.

What is some information that could help make him feel better? I'd like to be intimate with him. So any information that can make him more comfortable about us having sex so he's not worried would be very helpful.

March 25, 2011 - 4:49pm

I'm sorry to hear of your recent HPV positive status. Like so many of us, it is quite devastating to receive this news and like all of us, you want it gone immediately. As Susan mentioned above this however is not possible and while you can attain negative status the virus will remain and can recur at any point in the future.

Many women end up with positive HPV status during or after pregnancy because the body's immune system is altered which allows for the virus to become active. Other things which can depress your immune system such as steroids (even topical ones often used during pregnancy for hemorrhoids) stress and smoking can also "activate" HPV. I would avoid the use of any topical steroids for hemorrhoids if you have them. This was what contributed to the conversion to invasive anal cancer while I was pregnant with my daughter. Unfortunately the majority of colorectal specialists are severely lacking when it comes to understanding HPV and will often prescribe steroid creams for hemorrhoids without knowledge of the connection.

One thing I would like to add to Susan's post is that you will not be able to determine from whom you got HPV even if you have only had intercourse with one person. Simple skin to skin contact with someone can convey the virus so it could be from someone with whom you were close but did not necessarily sleep with. Virgins can have HPV!

I'd suggest you get the vaccination after you deliver, and you may want to defer breast feeding in deference to getting the vaccine as HPV has been found in breast milk. Sorry for this bad news, I'm sure it does not help your current upset however being educated is key.

Please check my profile and feel free to contact me at my website which will provide you with more detailed information on HPV as well.

March 4, 2011 - 9:00pm

I'm 6 months pregnant and just found out on March 3, 2011 that im positive for HPV, i dont no what type, my doctor just said "your pap was abnormal and you were HPV positive, i'm like anyone else, i started was crying and was so hurt by the fact that it was me, i still cant believe it, I want to know an HONEST ANSWER, my doctor said HPV will NEVER GO AWAY, but is there really a chance? I dont want to just give up on this, because i have 2 kids, im pregnant now and family that i know that loves me. Is there a chance that i can get cured or it can go away "for real" on its own or even with help? or does it just dissappear from eye sight but you still have it forever? I dont understand this because once a doctor say you have this virus, your heart just drops (well i know mines did). And I want to understand the curing process a little bit better, so i can know what i need to do to get the ball rolling to try and get back to HPV NEGATIVE and health, because I'm so depressed about the situation, and i want this HPV gone IMMEDIATELY. Can someone PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME? How do i make this go away? or how do i start?

March 4, 2011 - 12:46pm

If there is anything in particular you would like to see added to the website please let me know. It is very comprehensive as it is, but I'd be happy to address other issues not already covered.

February 5, 2011 - 10:51am
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for the website, Bonnie. There is great information provided and I am certain in time, there will be more also.


February 5, 2011 - 9:36am

OK hopefully we can set the record straight HPV can go dormant but it will always be in your system so it does not truly go away, only in a current active sense.
The strains (not strands which is a common mistake many people make) which cause cancer can effect not only the cervix but the vagina, vulva and anus. The FDA has just approved Gardasil for protection against anal cancer as well as these other three which they approved years ago. The problem is there is too much focus on cervical that most women are clueless to the others. More education is definitely needed. Check out:
thehpvsupportnetwork.org for more info

January 20, 2011 - 8:54pm

is that true? it will go away on its own?personally, i don't think so..one of my friend ever mentioned that the std conselor on (website)..he met lots of cases and maybe can help you and give you some advise..hope this helps. good luck.

(Website name removed by EmpowHER Moderator.)

January 20, 2011 - 7:41pm

i had a colposcopy today because i had an abnormal pap last month. the doctor then said it was de to low grade dysplasia caused by hpv. today though when i had my procedure, the doctor said that there were really no signs of abnormalities, and if there were they were mild...but she said mild was stretching it. the vinegar wasnt highlighting any abnormal cells in my cervix. when she was about to finish the procedure though, she noticed the vinegar showed abnormalities on the lips of my vagina. she even asked if i'd ever had genital warts. i've never had them! sometimes i would feel discomfort in that area, but i attributed it to a rash caused by panties or pads. could this be hpv...and could it lead to genital warts? is it possible to misdiagnose hpv? and if so, does this strand of the virus go away with antibodies? i am worried

January 19, 2011 - 9:52pm
(reply to Graduate2011)

Hi Graduate 2011,
I know how confusing and scary it can be when you find out you have HPV. It is possible you have had genital warts and didn't even notice. The thing about HPV is that once you have it, it can "go away" on its own, but it's a virus, so it stays in your system indefinitely--your body just keeps it in check. You still could spread it to someone else, so it's important to practice safe sex, and tell your partner so they can watch out for genital warts (that's how men can get checked to know if they have HPV).
For more information, check out these articles: Genital Warts Advocacy Sheet, and Page 13, Bonnie Diraimondo RN comment
If you have more questions, please let us know. I'm glad you are already under the care of your doctor for this, and your particular case is mild. Keep up with your follow-up appointments, and take care of yourself.

January 20, 2011 - 7:35am
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