A common misconception with HPV is that you'll have the virus in your body forever. Fortunately, that isn't true. Current research shows that your immune system can clear the virus from your system within six months to two years.
It's important to keep your immune system strong by not smoking, getting plenty of sleep and exercise and by eating right. You can also take 1 mg of folic acid a day, which will help boost your immune sytem as well.
There is a lot of great information about HPV from the Center for Disease Control, and your doctor can give you information about HPV as well.
Current research shows that your immune system can clear the virus from your system within six months to two years.
This statement is not new, what is different is how you are interpreting "clear the virus". For some, it seems to mean that you will literally get rid of the virus, for others it means the virus will no longer have any effect. So it's more like you will clear the symptoms of the virus. Because as a virus, you will always have it. No getting around that. What changes after six months to two years is whether it's still "active".
The CDC uses this misleading term "clear" in their general web pages but refers to it as 'dormant' or 'inactive' in other places (technical documents).
Thisby, that's how I understood "clearing", too. The way I understand it, once you have a virus, it leaves its tracks and is always in your body. Kind of like chicken pox. Most people who get chicken pox, only get them once. Other times it flares up again (is reactivated).
While it's true that in some cases HPV can lie dormant for years, it actually hasn't been established yet that HPV it stays in the body forever. Studies actually show very low rates of latent (dormant) HPV infections in women over the age of 30. So, until it is determined that HPV is forever, then we can assume that our body's immune system will erradicate the virus totally.
Not all viruses stay in your body. Your immune system creates antibodies which attack and kill the viruses. These antibodies do stay in your body forever, but the viruses are destroyed. In addition, the infected body cells can send out "chemical alerts" which activate certain immune cells called Killer T-cells to attack the affected cells and kill them and the viruses that are infecting them. That's why it's important to maintain your body's immune system health through the measures listed above.
It's rather frightening to women to hear that they will have HPV forever. I don't feel that it's necessary to tell women that when there is no positive indication that that is the case. Even if it should be discovered that the virus does stay with us forever, it's important to note that the immune system will supress the virus so that it is undetectable and does not cause further problems. Forever doesn't mean forever having problems or being contagious.
Last edited by TNWalker0709; 07-13-2008 at 01:31 PM.
I can speak from experience. I have had HPV. I got it about 4 or 5 years ago. I found out when my pap test came back bad. It scared me because I had no idea what it was. I was sent to a gyno specialist. He told me he was going to perform a colposcopy to remove a small area that had grown a bump. It was not cancerous. It is precancer and known as the HPV virus. It was the size of an eraser head. I was a bit freaked out. He told me not to worry and that in many cases the body fights it off and destroys it completely. It may even take a couple of years. So for a couple of years I would get a colposcopy every six months and he could remove that small section from the cervix. It would grow back but not any bigger. He was confident that at some point it would be gone. And I am thrilled to say that my last 2 visits over the last year I have had clear pap exams and the spot is gone. So Yes! It is possible to fight off HPV on your own. But there are many different strains of it. So the most important thing to do is get your yearly pap exams. I think the rate of catching and curing cancer is near 98%. At least that is what I heard at one time. Just stay faithful to your exams!
The term "clearing" used in the context in which you are using usually does not mean "to get rid of the virus". "Clearing" refers to the body not showing clinical symptoms or pathological detection. There is not significant data to show conclusively one way or another. In some cases, the virus may be entirely gone. In others, it may come back to detecable levels.