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Infectious status and cure rate of HPV.

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I recently had an outbreak on my skin which turned out to be caused by HPV. I had it treated successfully, but because I'm abroad and don't speak the local language, I have a few questions about the condition that I didn't manage to get answers to. I'm hoping I can get some more clarity about it here. The questions are:

1) From what I've read, there is no way to cure HPV. What I'm unclear about is my infectiousness. Now that it's clear that I have contracted HPV, does that mean I will always be infectious? Or does it clear to the point where that is no longer an issue? Is there a diagnosis I can get done that would tell me whether I'm infectious or not?

2) Again, from what I've read there are many strains of HPV. I've also learnt that there is a vaccine that protects against some of the more dangerous ones. Does it make sense for me to get that vaccine? Obviously, it won't change anything about my current condition, but would it still protect against other strains that I am not currently infected with?

3) Is there a diagnosis I can get done that would tell me which strain of the virus I am infected with, so that I could know whether it's dangerous or not and also so that I could know whether a sexual partner who got an HPV vaccine would be protected or not?

4) I'm very concerned about infecting other people with this virus, even though I've been told it's relatively harmless. I don't know how I contracted it - I always use condoms, but apparently that doesn't fully protect either? What should I do to keep future sexual partners safe? Can I be "clear enough" of the infection to safely have sex (with condoms) without infecting a partner?

I've been trying to research this, but opinions I've found online vary greatly.

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases(STD)Specialist

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Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian is online now

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 4 Days.

Thank you for your query at DoctorSpring.com
I understand your concern.
The issue with infections such as HPV or HSV ( Herpes infection ), is once you get infected, you remain infected for the rest of your life. Being a viral infection, they have no cure. However, that does not mean you will spread the infection everytime you try to be intimate with your partner. Some people with good immunity have one outbreak, and do not show any further outbreaks for the next 5-6 years, and can have sex without worrying about the infection. Just like herpes, periods of stress or other concurrent illness, trigger an outbreak, so the immunity plays an important part. In some odd cases though, the transmission happens even without any active lesion. So, it is better to use condoms as far as possible, and if there are skin lesions on the thighs, or other areas, it is better to avoid intercourse completely till the lesion disappears. Aldara cream helps in quick recovery.
Regarding the vaccine, now, since you are already infected, it won't be that helpful. Vaccines do prevent against the cervical cancer strains such as HPV-6,11 and hence all women are supposed to be vaccinated. For you, I will advise you to first confirm the strain, which can be done in good laboratories, and based on that we can decide on the future course of treatment.
Please apply Aldara as soon as you see a possible lesion of HPV, as it helps in quicker recovery and prevents recurrence.
Hope this was helpful,

Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian
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MD, Internal Medicine - Stanley Medical School
Medical School - MBBS - Govt. Medical College, Kottyaam

Diagnostic Prediction - Stanford School of Medicine
Received Specialty training in Critical Care, Cardiology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Nephrology from Stanley Medical College and in Endocrinology, Rheumatology.

Hematology and Geriatrics from Madras Medical College.
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