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Partner considerations and HPV

Many women ask if their partners can keep reinfecting them after the woman is cured of cervical dysplasia or genital warts, and if their partners should be treated.

For a woman, after surgery or other treatment, or after no treatment at all, whichever course is taken, she will either develop immunity or she will not. If she develops immunity, then she cannot catch the same HPV type from her partner and she is no longer contagious for that HPV type. She is cured of that HPV type. However, if she does not develop immunity, then she will still have HPV. Either way, her partner’s status will have no effect on her unless he catches a different HPV type and transmits that to her.

Sex with a man who has the same HPV type will not have a negative influence on the effectiveness of treatment for the woman. The woman cannot get reinfected by having sex with him. Think of HPV viruses (there are over 70 types) like the common cold viruses, in respect to immunity. Once a woman ‘gets over' a common cold, she has developed immunity to one of over 300 common cold viruses and will never get infected by that same cold virus again.

If a man’s partner has cervical dysplasia or genital warts, then there is a good chance that the man is a carrier. On the other hand, he may be immune to the specific HPV types of his partner. Nevertheless, it is impossible to prove that he has HPV unless he has (1) visible genital warts, or (2) a positive Digene Hybrid Capture® HPV DNA Test on a penile urethral swab done by a urologist. However, even if the warts are not present and the Digene Test is negative, it does not prove that he does NOT have HPV; this merely strongly suggests that he does not have HPV. Like most things in medicine, it is easier to prove the positive than the negative.

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Cervical Dysplasia
Genital Warts
Plantar Warts
Genital Herpes
Oral Herpes
Other Conditions

Dr. Joe Glickman, Jr., M.D.

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