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Gynecology

HPV

08/03/1998

Question:

I just found out that I have HPV. I am married and have never had unprotected sex with my husband in 7 years. I did have unprotected sex before that though(not with my husband). Is it possible for the HPV virus to be dormant for that long and should my husband be tested for HPV even though we have never had unprotected sex? Also, we want to have children. How will we do this now that I have HPV? Will we have to use an artificial method? If I do get pregnant, is there any risk of infection for the baby?

Answer:

HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is presumably the virus that is the cause of abnormal Pap smears (dysplasia) and ultimately cervical cancer. Fortunately, very few women infected with the virus have problems.

It is important to distinguish HPV changes on a Pap smear from the presence HPV on the cervix. The majority of sexually active women have the virus on their cervix if looked for by sensitive tests. A certain number of these women may develop cervical dysplasia. The vast majority have no problem.

There is little reason have your husband checked for HPV since it will not change how he should be treated. Genital warts are caused by HPV, but in the absence of warts, nothing need be done.

You may attempt pregnancy in the usual way knowing that it is unlikely that your husband will have any ill effects from the HPV. For piece of mind, you may decide to use condoms when not attempting pregnancy.

As far as pregancy is concerned, HPV will not effect the course of your labor or the health of your infant as long as your Pap semars do not show evidence of dysplasia.

This is always a confusing issue, so I urge you to talk about with your physician to clear up the many subtle aspects of HPV.

For more information:

Go to the Gynecology health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Arthur T Ollendorff, MD Arthur T Ollendorff, MD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati