Facebook Pixel
EmpowHER Guest

Can HPV go away on its own?

By Anonymous April 13, 2009 - 1:08pm
Rate This

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?

Add a Comment295 Comments

Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger (reply to Bonnie Diraimondo RN)

Thanks Bonnie, this is valuable information for all of us. Pat

November 10, 2010 - 5:18pm

The HPV test is very accurate is picking up HPV however the most specific is the ISH (in situ hybridization for HPV DNA). However this is a very expensive test, takes about a month for results but will determine the strains of the virus which you have. This should only be performed if a typical HPV test has been returned as positive and in most cases it is not covered by insurance nor is it necessary since treatment for high risk HPV will be the same regardless of the strain.

As for the questions above. HPV does not technically "go away". It can go dormant so that it would show up negative on anHPV test but thsi does not mean the virus is still not in your body. it will ALWAYS be in your body unfortunately from now on and yes you can always run the risk os passing the virus on to your partner at any point in time. If you are not showing any signs of cell changes, dysplasia, then yes you need not do anything other than normal follow ups with routine testing. You should get the vaccine if you are in the age where you still can and any men you date should get it as well to protect them. There are age limitations however but it is now approved for men so you should encourage your partners to get the vaccine. Some docs will tell YOU that if you are already HPV positive you cannot get the vaccine. This is NOT true and you should question the doc as to where they got this info as circular provided with vaccine disputes this claim. So they either haven't read it or are ignoring it unless of course you are over 26 years of age because it is only covered by insurance to that age. You can get it "off label" meaning if you are over age 26 from some docs but will have to pay for it yourself a cost of about $350.

November 9, 2010 - 8:07pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have had only one sexual encounter with an individual 5 years ago and have not been active since. I learned 4 months ago I have the HPV virus. Had a colposcopy test done and the doctor said I did not need to do anything further at this time. I am concerned for future relationships. Will I infect them with the HPV virus? If the HPV virus can go away on its own, are you still a carrier of it once it goes away? If I am not sexually active for a very long time after being told I had HPV but was told I didn't need to do anything further to treat it other than continue with annual pap tests and it goes away naturally can I transmit it to my partner? Will I always run the risk of infecting someone else with the HPV virus if I have not been sexually active since my one encounter?

November 9, 2010 - 7:38pm

The fact that your girlfriend has previously tested positive for HPV means that despite future negative tests, the virus will still remain in her body. Though it may be dormant, there is no information to suggest that it is impossible to transmit the virus while dormant. In other words, yes she can.

For years we were told that herpes could not be spread unless you were having an outbreak. Now we know this is not true and that it can be spread at any point in time. There is nothing to say that this would be any different for HPV so precaution is advised.

However, before you may consider cutting and run, keep in mind that HPV's negative effects, ie. cancer effect women far more often than men and as such your risks would be lower. It is a small percentage of people who have HPV who develop cancer and other cell changes and given the fact that eight out of ten people have HPV you are more than likely to encounter this with any future girlfriend as well.

Consider your GFs feelings and try to be supportive. She cannot help that she has contracted HPV. She is in a good place (negative) and apparently wants to be in that good place with you. That should count for something shoulnd't it? Life is about being in relationships through the good AND the bad remember. You may end up on the bad end of things some day and I'm sure you would want the same love and support if you are.

October 13, 2010 - 1:02pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Bonnie Diraimondo RN)

Hi Bonnie, i have one question for you regarding one of your posts, you mentioned PCR is not very reliable, can someone be misdiagnosed by it? what is the exact name of the most reliable test for HPV?

I agree with you, unfortunately, most doctors do not have enough information on the virus, and it is up to us to read and beware of the risks as research provides further information on it. My friends believe I am a bit intense for reading on the virus all the time, but as you mention it is better to know the facts, than to be surprised by a preventable cancer.


October 14, 2010 - 4:31pm
EmpowHER Guest

My girlfriend tested positive for hpv three years ago. In the past two years she has tested negative. Does this mean she can still give me hpv and make me a carrier?

October 13, 2010 - 12:36pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for your question and for finding EmpowHER.
Has your girlfriend received the HPV test, or just pap smears? There is a difference, as explained here:
Here is more information about HPV prevention, and links on the page for other things like definition, treatment, etc.:
It's great you want to educate yourself about this. If you have not had sex with another partner, your changes of having HPV are lower, but you may have it already and not know (as explained further on the CDC web page). If you are under the age of 26, you can get the vaccine which will help you to not get if you don't already have it. You can ask about it at any clinic.
Hope this information helps answer your question. If not, let us know how else we can help.

October 13, 2010 - 1:10pm

Amazing the different perspective between two people and the same post. Obviously another RN and I'm sure others were capable of viewing the information for the educational value it was posted for and not in response to someones specific request for support. It is truly unfortunate that the facts are so intimidating to you. All of the information posted is documented and researched and as for the comparison to HIV, this was merely to point out how other conditions can be transmitted through bodily fluids and it is not far fetched to think HPV may be any different. It's a shame you are unable to see the comment for what it is. Far too much was told to us about genital herpes for example such that it can only be spread during an outbreak, which was later found to be untrue. It is not unreasonable to question whether this may be true of HPV as well since it may help prevent contracting the virus if the same is learned about HPV. Investigating these things are part of what medicine is all about and making comparisons has often lead to great breakthroughs in science and medicine. Implying that only doctors can have "real" information is of course ridiculous. There are vast numbers of individuals involved with HPV from research to vaccine development who probably know more than many doctors.
Your choice of insulting the nursing profession is also unfortunate. I've met far too many doctors who know little if anything about HPV and some who have compromised their patient's through this lack of knowledge.
My DOCTOR informed me that the lesion I found was completely normal and there was no reason to biopsy it. When this upset me he performed a second surgery 2 1/2 months later at which time he commented on how stupid he felt doing a biopsy on tissue that looked completely normal. Well it wasn't normal and if I had just listened to his opinion the first time around I would probably be at a Stage 4 with liver metastases by now. So much for HIS "real" knowledge.
The fact that you would leave a very good website because you didn't like an answer is not only extreme it's sad because you're depriving yourself going forward.
My post was not in response to anyones particular post or response for support. It was meant to expand on things which were typically not discussed and which research is proving out as time goes by. It is to make the point that HPV is not solely about cervical cancer but more far reaching than that. I'm not sure just whom you expected me to be sympathetic to in that post - perhaps yourself which would account for your upsetment. Having dealt with HPV to the extent that I have makes me very empathetic and compassionate towards those dealing with HPV and its ramifications. This post simply wasn't focused on one of them
Harald zur Hausen, MD is a virologist, researcher and recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery that HPV caused cervical cancer. If anyone is familiar with what is and isn't real knowledge when it comes to HPV it's Dr. zur Hausen. After all, he spent over two decades researching HPV.
Dr. zur Hausen recently endorsed and wrote the foreward for a book on HPV. He wrote:
"This is not ony a book for "any mother's daughter' but also for anyone who wishes to become informed about HPV infections, but it also belongs into the hands of many practicing physicians who need to refresh their knowledge of HPV."
So as far as your comment that you will research HPV yourself and get your advice from the doctors who have "real" knowledge, all I can say is that the book that Dr. zur Hausen endorsed and wrote the foreward for and which he describes above, is mine.

September 27, 2010 - 2:04am
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger (reply to Bonnie Diraimondo RN)

Hi Bonnie - Thank you for your comments and I want to assure you that you are welcome to post on EmpowHER at any time and I encourage you to share your knowledge. You're absolutely right, it is frustrating to be asked the same question over and over.

Some of the frequent questions seem to stem from the confusing way in which the information is relayed to the patient in the first place, and the desire for an instant answer. It's just not that simple.

As long as this thread is, and as much information as it contains, it really does not contain a lot of information about the risks of contracting throat cancer through HPV. New studies show that throat cancer incidences related to HPV and oral sex have gone from 20% to 60%, yet there is very little discussion of this outside of clinical journals.

When you don't know what you don't know then you remain ignorant and unable to take protective measures. We need to continue this conversation for as long as people still have questions. Thanks for your many contributions.

Take care,

September 27, 2010 - 5:44pm
EmpowHER Guest

Bonnie, Although I truly appreciate your knowledge on this subject the demeaning tone you use in your post refering to those of us who have questions is just rude.We are on here to find answers, many answers to our one question. We want all the answers available. So yes, we may ask the same question more than once. I appreciate you giving a link to that website & recommending further procedures to make sure we are cancer free. However, I find little sympathy from you reading your post. I know I joined this forum to get support and answers and know that I am not alone, you have provided some answers but no support. Honestly, what you wrote in your post is quite scary comparing HPV to HIV. I understand you want to share your "knowledge" with us but you are not a doctor, you are an RN, therefore I will no longer use this particularly website for answers & support. I will find a more SUPPORTIVE one & research HPV on my own & get advice from doctors who have real knowledge of HPV

September 26, 2010 - 3:55pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Get Email Updates

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!