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setare7 04-28-2011 08:43 PM

Any HPV experts-your response greatly appreciated
I am needing some closure, very bothered because still facing uncertainty. I would appreciate anyone's response who feels they have become very knowledgeable on HPV through their own direct experience or through medical expertise.

Several months ago I was tested after "exposure" for all stds. Fast forward a few months and I was tested again for all stds per the gyno's request as is required by standard procedure.

I have been doing the gardasil and asked the gyno if she could also test for hpv as well, given it is so prevalent. Her response confused and scared me. "Not to say that gardasil necessarily prevents hpv, but we can't test for hpv until your next pap smear. and right now your insurance doesn't cover the hpv test.There's really nothing we can do if you have it...50% of women get it by age 50 and it just comes and goes by itself."

This sent me into a frenzy...I originally tested with another gyno because i lived somewhere else and started worrying that maybe the first gyno also hadn't screened me for hpv (I hear you have to request it directly, not part of routine) because of insurance issues. Called them and they said since the pap smear had all come back normal, and there were no harmful cells, etc, they had NOT done an hpv culture!

Does this mean that I'm not cleared for HPV 100%? That IF I did catch HPV from my last sexual encounter, it may not very well show up (warts or cancer, for example) until my pap smear in a year??? i want to make sure i didn't get anything from that partner, and my current gyno's response isn't helping me rule that out.

Does HPV involve a time cycle like HIV where you have no guarantees, need to monitor it for 6 months to a year to be conclusive about it? Help..

Ppc11 05-09-2011 03:38 AM

Re: Any HPV experts-your response greatly appreciated
I had the gardasil shots, but found out after that I do have HPV and pre-cancerous cells. Have been going through a whole mess of biopsies and LEEP procedures and blah blah.

But to answer your question the best I can. I am answering this from personal experience. I have been taught that as many as 80% of women contract HPV at some point in their lives. It is nothing to freak out about, as long as you are going to your regular OBGYN appointments and having PAP smears. For most women, this is every 1 to 3 years. HPV can lie dormant in your body for decades before it produces an abnormal PAP result. But this is nothing to be concerned about, because if it is lying dormant, it is not causing any problems. When your PAP is abnormal, then it is time for concern. I see many conflicting statements, but according to my nursing school, HPV can clear it self completely from your body over time. having protected sex, and not smoking will help the process, and it will probably take a very long time, but it happens. It will be hard to tell though if it has cleared itself or if it is just dormant, unless there is a recurrence. Anyway, the point is, I would not stress out as long as your PAPs are normal. An abnormal PAP is a reason to do an HPV test. It is really not necessary if your PAPs are normal. Gardasil will not cure existing HPV infections, and it only protects you against a couple of the strains. Personally, I don't feel it did me any good. But I don't think it did any harm either. Hopefully. Hope I helped!!!

UFC girl 05-09-2011 10:50 AM

Re: Any HPV experts-your response greatly appreciated
I was told several years ago that I had an abnormal pap test result and a year later was told I had HPV. It made me very nervous as well. However, I have been told a countless amount of times that it tends to go away on it`s own. I did not take the gardasil shots. I had a biopsy and other tests done. My gyno told me at my last visit that it seems to be clearing up on it`s own. He also said that many women will experience this, it is very common, but should not be cause for great concern. Good luck!

setare7 05-09-2011 12:36 PM

Re: Any HPV experts-your response greatly appreciated
Thank you very much, Ppc11 and UFC Girl. I really appreciate both of you taking the time to respond and share your experiences.

susiehf 07-02-2011 03:16 PM

Re: Any HPV experts-your response greatly appreciated
It certainly can be confusing, I suppose because there are so many strains of HPV. I too am in a situation where I just want to know for sure whether I have the virus. I had a "test" done for HPV a couple weeks ago, no results yet, but after reading more in the interim, I'm certain the nurse practitioner doesn't "get" it. They keep referring to it as a pap, but the HPV test they do in conjuction with the pap only locates "high risk" strains of HPV, the ones that cause cancer. That test doesn't identify "low risk" strains, the ones that cause warts. I THINK but am not sure that a test for the low risk strains would indicate if the virus is present, whether or not you have visible warts. But I betcha that's not the test she ordered up.

Not much help here, but sharing your frustration and concern. Have you gotten any firm answers or relief??

Kali333 07-02-2011 03:28 PM

Re: Any HPV experts-your response greatly appreciated
You have probably not been screened for hpv, as it's not part of standard std screenings.
Doctors typically do not test women under 30 for hpv, because it's so prevalent in young women, and there's nothing you can do if you have it, except get regular PAPs like you are supposed to anyway.
If your PAP is normal then it really doesn't matter if you have HPV. You probably will get it eventually, if you haven't already... and your body will probably clear it, without treatment.
There is no point in getting screened for hpv under 30 years old. It doesn't really mean anything even if you have it. What you need to be screening for is abnormal, precancerous cervical cells which can be caused by hpv... and the way to do that is by getting routine PAPs once a year.

The only reason women [I]over[/I] 30 are screened for hpv is that if they have it, it's more of a problem than if a younger woman has it, as it may indicate a persistent infection, which in turn increases the woman's risk for cervical cancer.
But in a young woman, hpv is a fairly meaningless diagnosis.
If you have it, your body will clear it.
If it causes abnormal cervical cells, they will show up on your PAP, and your doctor can treat them at that time.
HPV itself is not treatable or curable by medical means... you just have to wait for it to go away (typically your body clears the virus in 12 to 18 months).

If you are under 30, you insurance will not pay for an hpv test, because they are considered unnecessary in women under 30.
If for some reason you really, really want one, you will no doubt have to pay out of pocket for it; last time I checked, it cost about 60 dollars.
But I think you should discuss with your gyno beforehand [I]why[/I] you want one, and whether it will benefit you in any way to have one.

Best of luck.

setare7 07-03-2011 01:40 PM

Re: Any HPV experts-your response greatly appreciated
Thank you for your response, Susie.

Basically, 6 months into this I was still quite frustrated and finally took things into my own hands. I learned that a normal pap doesn't guarantee that hpv is not there.
It only looks for certain strains or early stages of abnormal cells. Gardasil is good, but it too only protects against 4 types of the many different strains of hpv.

So I requested an hpv culture, which, even the doctor was hesitant about doing, let alone the nurses. It was negative.The point being, I felt better afterwards because I had done all I could in terms of testing, although according to other messages posted on this board, hpv can appear years later without any warning, like herpes. I finally had a frank discussion with a new gyno who admitted that doctors do not know very much about hpv. it gets passed back and forth like a cold and like kali33 commented, they do not usually screen for it in women under 30.

What makes it weird is that men cannot be tested for hpv and supposedly it's quite a common std. Regardless, warts and abnormal cells are nothing to be taken lightly and I think as women we need to be concerned, because we are responsible for the next generation of human beings to come and we need to do everything we can to ensure that are body is doing just fine despite any lack of information or awareness from doctors.

For my own peace of mind though, I am letting go of the need to obsess about this. Surely if we love ourselves and our partners then this should be an openly discussed concern but not a reason to stop sex altogether.

setare7 07-03-2011 01:42 PM

Re: Any HPV experts-your response greatly appreciated
That was very helpful. Thank you for sharing your advice, Kali333.

Alcheer2002 07-19-2011 03:26 AM

Re: Any HPV experts-your response greatly appreciated
I had my first pap and they called me back with no rush so I wasn't worried. A month later I go in they told me I have high risk HPV my doctor was no help he told me I had it there's no cure then walked out of the room. So this really helped me to thanks all!!

Kali333 07-19-2011 05:43 AM

Re: Any HPV experts-your response greatly appreciated
[QUOTE=Alcheer2002;4803238]I had my first pap and they called me back with no rush so I wasn't worried. A month later I go in they told me I have high risk HPV my doctor was no help he told me I had it there's no cure then walked out of the room. So this really helped me to thanks all!![/QUOTE]

Well, he's correct... there's no "cure"; it's a virus.
What he neglected to mention is that it clears up on its own within a couple of years in 98% of cases, and that in the tiny percentage of cases where it persists, it can be [I]managed[/I] by treating the symptoms as they occur.

I mean, the common cold can't be "cured" either, but that doesn't mean we should stress about it, lol.

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