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Sex practices to prevent HPV and genital warts

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Hello doctor, I am a 24 years old female and am sexually active with my 26 years old boyfriend. He went to consult with his doctor, before we started having sex for the first time as he saw some skin tags in his inner thigh region. It was told that he was affected with hpv infection, by his doctor, after examining him. After that we had dated for about a month or so. We had not started having sex, till then until I have got 3 doses of Gardasil vaccination. It takes more than 6 months and now, I am concerned, whether I can hold that long. Can I have sex without getting affected with HPV, from him? He has got some blotchy looking lesions in his skin, which looks like fungal infections, in his shoulders. That is almost red in color. Is it related to HPV? Other than that, he is a healthy guy with good build up. I searched over internet for details and all the craps I have found are vague. We used to do oral sex and stimulation. Am I at a risk of getting affected, by doing so? I am a nurse by profession and am trying to find out more information about this, from the time I started dating. Please help me by providing a clearer answer. Thanks for your time.

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Category: Internal Medicine Specialist
 31 Doctors Online

Thanks for your question and concern. As you may know, genital warts is caused by HPV or human papilloma virus. It causes genital warts and cervical cancer in females, according to the type of virus. Taking a Gardasil vaccine can help preventing getting affected by type 6, 11, 16, and 18 of HPV viruses in young women of your age. HPV vaccination is an injection given in a series of 3 shots in muscles of upper arm or thighs. First shot of Gardasil can be taken when a girl is 9 to 26 years old. Then following shots of vaccination is to be taken 2 months after the first injection and the third injection can be had after 6 months from the first injection. You can take this injection even if you are found positive with HPV or found abnormal pap smear in past. Anyway, this cannot be used to treat active warts and cancers and also will not cure a HPV infection. As you may know, genital warts can be spread easily from one person to another through skin to skin contact itself, being very contagious in nature. There is a high recurrence rate also, causing a recurrence at more than 50% of times, after a year from the first outbreak. The process of recurrence can be speeded up by continuous sexual contact with affected people. The virus remain there in the hair follicles while the infection is in its dormant state. There are various methods of destroying the virus as they stay dormant in the superficial skin layers. Cryotherapy using super cooled liquid nitrogen, electrocution of affected cells, surgical excision of affected cells are the major ways of removing virus. Anyway, these processes are risky and have undesired side effects. They are done under local, regional or general anesthesia at times. Laser treatment is found to be the most effective even though the treatment is very costly and cause scarring and takes long time for healing. However, not method has been found yet to completely remove or destroy virus, if it is affected once. No treatment is found to be 100% fool proof in preventing a recurrence. Ways of preventing getting affected are, using condoms and refraining from sexual activities with affected people. Anyway, the former is not proved effective in some cases as the skin having virus can spread the virus to sex partner, by just being in contact.

Dr. Steve Merris
Category: Internal Medicine Specialist
Medical School - New York University
Internship in Internal Medicine - Beth Israel Medical Center
Residency in Internal Medicine - Beth Israel Medical Center
Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine - Columbia University Medical Center
Dr. Steve Merris and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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