I was just shocked to find out that I have HPV. I was told that my pap came back normal, but was positive for HPV and to come back in 6 months. I am extremely worried. Some people seem to know the strain they have, I don't. Since I don't see any warts, and my pap came back negative for any abnormal cells, does this mean I have a "low risk" strain? How long would it take for warts to appear? I don't have any idea when I was even infected... just has to be within the last year, since my previous pap a year ago was normal. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. thank you.
It sounds like your doctor found viral HPV cells on your cervix, however they have not been present long enough to cause precancerous changes in your cervical tissue. When an "abnormal pap" comes back, it is usually because a woman may be showing early signs of precancerous cell changes, which if left untreated can progress into cervical dysplasia or another cancerous condition. Unfortunately, the cervical varieties are a high risk strain (Type 16 or 18 in 90% of cases). However, you caught the condition very early. In six months when you return to see your doc, he or she will perform another pap in search of precancerous changes. Hopefully your immune system will be strong enough to prevent that from happening. It is possible that your condition may just go away on its own as long as you maintain a proper diet and low stress levels.
More than likely you will not have to worry about warts, though it is just good in general to monitor your external health. GW (Type 6 or 11 in most cases) does not show up on pap smears. It is possible to have two or more different strains of HPV at the same time, so keep an eye out for any external changes. Otherwise, it looks like you will just have to wait, which is how it is with HPV. Hopefully during your 6 month checkup it will not have progressed into anything more serious. Best wishes.
You really can't tell when you got HPV. Just because you had a normal pap doesn't mean you didn't have it. I have dysplasia on my vulva, and have had it for 7 years. I have never had an abnormal pap. Infact because I have had the normal paps my last gyno said I dont have to have another one for 2 years...I guess that how our medical works. Stupid! Come this fall I will no longer have a cervix but I will still be going in yearly for a "pap" even if I have to pay for it! (which I won't because I am sure my new gyno will order it)