The Human Papillomavirus, which causes genital warts and precancerous or cancerous changes in the cervix, is thought to affect about half of all sexually active individuals. If you have been diagnosed with HPV, you may be wondering if this sexually transmitted disease will go away. The answer is a little bit complicated, but the good news is that HPV generally does clear up on its own.
Does HPV Ever Go Away?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the HPV generally goes away within two years. There are some women who may be affected by the Human Papillomavirus for a longer time than others, however. Most medical professionals believe that having a low immune system, which can be weakened by smoking or lack of exercise, may be the reason why HPV doesn’t go away right away among some women.
That said, the average woman will find that the infection will clear up on its own. Since HPV is a virus, the body simply becomes immune to it. While the body will always have the virus, you will never test positive for the same strain of the Human Papillomavirus once the infection has cleared up.
Can You Test Positive for HPV Again?
There are some cases in which HPV may lie dormant in your body for many years without you ever knowing it. You may learn that you have it when your immune system has weakened, such as when you get a bad case of the flu or become pregnant. If the infection never cleared up, you may test positive for it again. However, this is very rare.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 40 strains of the Human Papillomavirus which can be transmitted sexually. Although you can get rid of one strain of the virus, there are 39 more that you can contract. If you have tested positive for HPV after the infection already cleared up (which you will generally know if you test negative for it at some point), this is likely the reason why.
What if HPV Doesn’t Go Away?
The most important thing to keep in mind that it is rare for HPV to not go away on its own eventually – usually within two years. The best thing that you can do is try to find ways to strengthen your immune system, by eating healthy, exercising, and laying off the cigarettes.
Women who have contracted high risk strains of the Human Papillomavirus which do not go away within two years should be cautious and follow their doctor’s orders for treatments. It is fairly rare for HPV to cause cervical cancer, as the virus will often go away on its own before any treatment is necessary. Women who have high risk strains of HPV that do not go away on their own right away are at the greatest risk of developing cervical cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ultimately, it is important to remember that HPV can and usually does clear up. If you have any questions about this sexually transmitted disease and how it will affect you, the best thing that you can do is ask your doctor.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Common Questions About HPV and Cervical Cancer.”
Planned Parenthood, “Human Papillomavirus (HPV).”