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Old 11-12-2009, 01:54 PM   #1
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Question new and confused!

Hi all, I'm so glad I found this forum!

Just found out today that I have "high risk HPV" ... huh?! lol So now that I've cried, and searched mayo website ... I still have a billion questions!!!

From what I have read high risk hpv is the one that CAN cause cervical cancer? I also read something about the body/immune system gets rid of the virus itself? Is that always or sometimes the truth? Plus the thing I was looking at was also talking about hand and plantar warts so I have no idea what (if all or only a few) strains they were referring to.

So now I go for a pap every 6 mos rather than 12? The nurse at my doc office said I don't need to do anything different when I asked and that 90% of women have it (don't know if she meant in her office or in the general population).

Also I don't have warts so that's a different strain? WOW so much info to try to absorb and I'm so freaked out and scared right now. I'm not in a relationship right now but eventually I'd like to have children ... does this mess that chance up?!

Thanks for taking the time to read this very loooong post and for any help, advice, etc you can offer!

 
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Old 11-12-2009, 04:38 PM   #2
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Re: new and confused!

Hi Newbiechick, I understand your confusion and questions! I felt the same thing almost 2 years ago when I was diagnosed with high risk HPV.

There are over 100 strains of HPV. More than 30 strains affect the genitals (vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, anus/rectum, mouth/throat). The other 70+ strains cause problems elsewhere (like plantar warts, warts on fingers, or the face, etc).

Of those 30+ strains that affect the genitals, some are high risk and some are low risk. Someone can have both high risk and low risk HPV at the same time. They may never know they have either. It is also entirely possible to have more than one strain of high risk and/or low risk HPV. HPV is VERY easily transmittable; all it takes is skin to skin contact, not just sexual intercourse but various forms of foreplay can transmit HPV. This is why it is so common.

When it comes to "fighting" the virus, there is some disagreement in the medical community. One thing is known for certain (as far as I understand) is that once someone has HPV their body maintains markers (or some other medical term) that hows the person has, at some point, had a strain of the virus.

The debate comes in as to what can/does happen. Some researchers say that a person can fight the virus so it no longer causes problems. Once fighting that strain, then that strain won't cause any more problems. Other researchers say it is possible for that strain of HPV to be reactivated later (especially by stres) in life. This is compared to how many people had chicken pox when they were younger. The body fought the virus; and for most people the virus never causes any more problems. For some people, however, the virus reactivates later in life and it can show up as shingles.

I don't know which is correct.

I hope that helps.

 
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