It can lie dormant for months or years, most people's bodies can get rid of HPV but some people go on to show symptoms (ie: genital warts, dysplasia, abnormal pap). I don't know how long I had HPV but I had genital warts and then found out I had dysplasia (abnormal cells) on my vulva area. I found out last year and I am 38 years old, been married for over 17 years. I have never, ever had an abnormal pap.
I've been married (and in a monogamous relationship) for 16 years. I've never had an abnormal pap, either (and I've had my pap EVERY year since I was 19. I just turned 45). I was diagnosed with cervical cancer this year (and have had it removed via hysterectomy).
Part of the issue is that many women are now finding out they are positive for high risk HPV because doctors are starting to use the test on women over 30. The test was approved only 4 or 5 years ago. It is starting to become a standard test for women over 30.
It can take years and decades to cause problems without someone knowing they have it until it has caused dysplasia or cancer.