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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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Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for your posting, and for finding EmpowHER. If you have been having sex without a condom, it is very likely you have contracted HPV. The surest way to know is to schedule a visit with your doctor to be tested. Have you been to a gynecologist yet? If not, it may be time to do that anyway if you are sexually active.
If that's the case, here is an article I wrote that may be of interest: What to Expect at the First Gynecological Appointment
Good luck and let us know how you're doing.

January 12, 2011 - 7:42am
EmpowHER Guest

I'm 17 and found out my bf has hpv, is there anyway I could possibly have not contracted the virus from him. I'm terrified of cancer and not being able to have kids!

January 12, 2011 - 12:07am
EmpowHER Guest

I'm a 54 yr. old male and just getting back into the dating scene. I’ve been with only one woman my whole life till this point. This is a very informative forum and I'm glad I found it. I've been seeing a 49 yr. old woman for about a month now. (Please forgive me I'm not trying to be graphic) After having oral sex (no penetration to date) with her I was told she was diagnosed with Hpv and due to this underwent partial removal of her cervix in "91". Yes I'm mad as hell at her for not telling me, let me make the decision to continue the relationship. Now I don't know if I've contracted the virus or not. I know there is no test for men and I don't know what to do next! I'm looking for suggestions, please help!

December 23, 2010 - 6:25am
(reply to Anonymous)

Thanks for your question and for finding EmpowHER. HPV is the most common STD there is--roughly 95% of the population has had it at some point. And from what you can read here, given the nature it is a virus, it remains dormant in your system. In men, HPV is often noted by determining if you have genital warts. You can schedule a visit with your doctor to be tested for other STD/STIs and mention you've been exposed to HPV. They may examine the area to see if there is any suspicious looking skin. Here is an article I wrote about genital warts that may be of some interest. Please keep in mind this site is geared toward women, so some of it may not be applicable to you specifically:
Genital Warts Advocacy Sheet
Good luck and let us know how else we may be able to help you.

December 23, 2010 - 8:52am

So sorry to hear about your situation with HPV. The unfortunate answer to your question is yes, you can continue to pass the virus on to any future partners and you do not have to be having any outward noticeable lesions to do so. They used to think this of herpes until finally so many people contracted herpes while there partners were NOT having an outbreak that they had to reconsider their findings. Just like herpes, HPV is a virus as well. As for children, it is usually the low risk HPV, strains 6 and 11, the ones which cause genital warts which get passed to a newborn through a vaginal delivery. However, these days if it is known that the mother has HPV she is checked before delivery and if she has obvious signs of HPV they will usually do a C-section. Otherwise the baby can develop laryngeal papillomatosis, a condition which usually presents itself by the age of four and results in continual development of HPV growth within the throat and airways and must be removed.

I realize this is not good news for you and you are being very hard on yourself as a result of your choices. But feelings of shame and self-debasing yourself are not going to change the circumstances either.

Were you aware of HPV before you had sex with this boy? Is it possible at this point for you to get the HPV vaccine? If so then I's suggest you get it. If finances are a concern, Merck offers financial support for those who have financial issues in obtaining the vaccine. You can find this information at thehpvsupportnetwork.org and going to the resource page. Itis more important that ever to protect yourself against strains 16 and 18 which you may not yet have, and which are the two most aggressive to progress on to cancer.

Unfortunately, this may not be something tha you can truly move on from. Your positive paps will now require that you be more diligent regarding your screenings; you must be aware of any lesions which you may notice as the virus can spread from the cervical area to involve the vagina, vulva and anal area as well.

I'mglad you have a support system in your mom and that you can talk with her. She is right that sometimes there can be false positives but this is very rare and she is probably trying to lessen your fears of what you may have to go through next. Your gyn was right on top of it doing the colposcopy, that was just the right thing to do. I would become concerned, if mom shows signs of denial and cannot accept that you have HPV. The pap test is only 64% sensitive when it comes to HPV, but the actual HPV test, is 94% sensitive so if your HPV test came back positive chances are highly likely that yes you have HPV. Now the most important thing to do is learn asmuch as you can, get the vaccine, have a better understanding of HPV transmission (which is not just through intercourse; and try to take it one day at a time.

December 20, 2010 - 8:26pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hello, I'm 15 years old and have never had any form of sexual activity until this summer. I never wanted to have sex until I was married or at least much older and in a long-term serious relationship, but over the summer I was in a relationship with a somewhat manipulative boy who despite knowing my opinions on teenage/college sex continuously tried persuading me into having sex with him, and eventually managed to do so. After losing my virginity, we did have sex a few more times because after I'd lost it I just didn't care anymore. I ended up breaking up with him, after finally realizing his cheating on me and the fact that he obviously didn't love me if he was trying to force me to do things that I was not comfortable with. A few weeks after we broke up I cried almost every night ashamed of what I'd done with him but have recently been okay after talking with the youth priest at my school and deciding not to have sexual contact again until I'm married. But then a few weeks ago my first pap came back abnormal. I started going to a gynecologist because bad cramps from my period were worsening my acid reflex, and was put on the pill for it - although this was after I'd lost my virginity, but I have not had sex since my first appointment/pap test. My mom assured me that sometimes paps just come back abnormal and there was nothing to be worried about. My gynecologist did a colposcopy(spelling?) and the results showed that I was positive for HPV and had mild dysplasia. She said that this will most likely go away on it's own and had me schedule a pap test for four months from now. I've read that HPV usually becomes dormant, but I'm so scared that it could develop into cancer. I'm crying just writing this because I just can't believe that I have an STD. Will I pass this on to other partners or children I may have when I'm older even if it is dormant? I know that this is all my own fault for having sex in the first place, but I just want to be able to move on from this mistake and have this off my shoulders. I feel so dirty and stupid for not standing up for my morals instead of giving in to him.

December 20, 2010 - 6:29pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Thanks Christine, that's very helpful information and good to know. Pat

December 14, 2010 - 8:50am
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Anon and Christine - The question of whether men can be tested for HPV has come up before, and according to the company which makes the HPV test for women, there is no test for men.

"There is currently no FDA-approved test to detect HPV in men. That is because an effective, reliable way to collect a sample of male genital skin cells, which would allow detection of HPV, has yet to be developed."
Link: http://www.thehpvtest.com/about-hpv/faqs-for-men/#Is-there-an-HPV-test-for-men

If there's new or different information about a test for men I'd appreciate a reference to this information as the question does come up a lot.


December 13, 2010 - 4:59pm
(reply to Pat Elliott)

Hi Pat,
I found this on the National Cervical Cancer Coalition website: "At the moment, there is no test approved to detect HPV in men. However, there are ways to detect the most common problem caused by HPV in men, genital warts. Genital warts are usually diagnosed by visual inspection."
Sorry my comment was misleading.

December 14, 2010 - 7:53am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi everyone,
I just found out I have HPV type 18 , which is considered high risk. I had oral unprotected sex not long ago with a guy who I didn't know that well. Few days ago, even before knowing I had the virus, I started to feel a weird feeling in my mouth and throat that goes all the way up to my left eye. I read this virus can give you oral, mouth cancer. Should I be concerned?. I am already worried about the fact I can have cervical cancer in the future and now this as well...Also, I would like to have babies sometimes but obviously that implies having sex without protection. Does it mean I have no choice but infecting my future partner? If the virus is dormant after few years, can I still pass it? what are the consequences?
Thanks a lot for your help.

December 9, 2010 - 11:28pm
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