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High-risk HPV for 2 years - what now?

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EmilyS
High-risk HPV for 2 years - what now?

Hi all

I had a smear in July 2016 which showed no cell changes (but I understand the test didn't include a check to see if I was HPV positive) and then another smear in December 2019 that showed I am high-risk HPV positive with low grade dyskariosis.

I had a colposcopy in February 2020 that was inconclusive and another at the beginning of August 2020 that showed I no longer have cell changes (yay) but am still high-risk HPV positive (boo).

In the best case scenario, I could have got the HPV from my last partner who I met about two years ago (this is semi-likely because I haven't had unprotected sex with anyone else). This would mean I have had it for at least 2 years and not got rid of it. The other thought is I could have been carrying high risk HPV for longer than that and my body hasn't got rid of it for even longer (and in 2016 I just happened not to have cell changes present).

I was never vaccinated because I was offered the vaccine during exam season at school and a nurse told me not to get it because it would make me drowsy - definitely regretting that!

I am really concerned about this in various ways so I will list my questions and grateful for any insight:

1) Is the fact that I have no cell changes any more a sign that my body's immune system is getting rid of the HPV or can the cell changes come and go?

2) What percentage of people who have a high-risk HPV strain get rid of it?

3) If I have had it for at least 2 years, am I likely to ever get rid of it? (I am 29 and a bit overweight)

4) Is there anything I can do to improve my body's chance of fighting it off? I am willing to try anything.

5) I have been told I have a high-risk variety. Is there anyway I can find out which strain I have specifically?

6) If I find out what strain I have, can I get a vaccine for the other strains? My doctor suggested I do some research on if a vaccine would help and they they would then help me source it.

7) Do I need to tell future partners I have HPV/should I wait until I have got rid of HPV to find another partner? (I'm thinking about this in the vein that I have a strain that causes a high-risk of getting cancer)

8) Can I pass it on through kissing? 

9) If my immune system never gets rid of it, what are the rammifications? Is it basically saying that at some point in the future I will get some level of cancer?

Thoughts on one/a few/all of these questions welcomed.

Many thanks.

Pr85

Hi there

I'm not medically trained but from what I've been told about HPV is that the majority of people who've ever been sexually active (regardless of the amount of sexual partners they've had) has likely had HPV at some point. Most people's immune system clears this but for some reason some people's bodies don't do this as easily.

I was the first year group of girls to be vaccinated back when I was 12/13 years old. I'm now 24 nearly 25 and attended my first smear in July. My smear test came back as HPV positive and severe cell changes which obvsiously shows that being vaccinated is not fool proof. I believe that I was told by the nurse when I received my smear test results that I have the high risk strain that can cause cell changes.

I'm currently awaiting my treatment plan- likely to have the LLETZ procedure.

I'm definitely in a similar position to yourself and I'm trying to boost my immune system in order to get rid of the HPV.  I'm trying to boost my immune system by eating lots more fruit vegetables and taking supplements to help. I've also read online that there may be a link with taking the combined pill and this making it harder for your body to shift an HPV infection. I've been on the combined pill continuously for 7 years now so I'm starting to think whether this could be the case for me. I'm also not a smoker but I've been advised by the nurse that I spoke to that smoking makes it harder for your body to get rid of HPV.

i don't think HPV can be passed on from kissing but it can be transmitted via oral sex. 

I think from what you've explained about your situation it seems really positive that your body has managed to resolve any cell changes!! Your body will likely clear HPV at some point and as long as you attend regular smears which it seems you already do you, the screening programme will be able to support you fully if the HPV ever causes any cell changes again.

This is just my two cents, I hope this helps! 

 

 

 

 

Jazza
Jazza's picture

For question 5: you can find out if you have the highest risk HPV strains 16 and 18 using a HPV self testing kit.  For an example of such a kit see the following link:

https://webmedpharmacy.co.uk/buy/for-women-hpv-testing-kit

There are several HPV self test kits on the market so it's worth searching the net. 

For question 7: no you definitely shouldn't put your life on hold and delay finding a partner because you test positive for HPV.  HPV is a very common virus and tens of thousands of women in the UK test positive for it every year.  Besides who's to say your next partner isn't infected.  The key thing is to adhere to the medical advice and keep up to date with smear tests, follow-ups and treatments as required - which is where I went wrong (see my back story).  It's up to you if you want to tell any future partners; personally I think the way forward with that is to get well informed about HPV and then discuss it with partners because ideally everyone should be aware of it and it's implications for our health.  Jo's does a downloadable information leafelt about HPV which you can find by clicking on the 'information' section  - if possible it would be good to spread the word amongst all your family and friends.

x

  • Feb 04:  (age 47y) Smear test normal
  • Stopped going for smears!
  • Summer 16: persistent watery yellow vaginal discharge
  • Dec 16: PMB
  • Jan 17: Hysteroscopy under GA for ?fibroids - abnormal cervix observed -multiple biopsies taken, 1B1 (1B2 on new FIGO) squamous cell cc diagnosed - confirmed by MRI/PET scans
  • Feb 17: pelvic lymphadenectomy - nodes negative, Da Vinci radical hysterectomy- close anterior margin/LVSI/PNI, restaged to 2A1 (2A1 on new FIGO)
  • Apr/May 17: 6x chemo, 25x external radio, 2x brachy
  • May 20:  NED.  Side effects notably hypotonic bladder since hysterectomy - ongoing ISC, unilateral lymphoedema lower abdo/groin/leg/ankle/foot