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Preventing spread of HPV while having visible genital warts.

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Hi doctor, I am a 22 years old female. I used to have sex with my ex-boyfriend in our relationship which was broken up about 4 months ago. I got infected with HPV from him and recently started getting some genital warts. Now, I am in a relationship and wish to have sex with him. But I sincerely do not wish to transmit the virus to him. How can I prevent it from infecting my new partner? Is there any time, as I had an inactive time, at which I can restart enjoying safe sex? Please help.


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Category: Family Physician-GP
Dr. John Fuller is online now

Expert:  Dr. John Fuller replied 4 Days.

Thanks for your concern about preventing the spread of HPV and related genital warts. Genital warts are caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which reside at the superficial squamous cells. So, it makes it easier to get transmitted via skin to skin contacts. This is because superficial cells shed easily to carry virus from one person to another. Vaccines are available against HPV of four different types which are the main reasons for causing genital warts, even if there are about 70+ types of HPV infections. Treatments are also available in different forms, against genital warts. Cryotherapy- which uses liquid nitrogen to kill wart cells and viruses; surgical excision of warts, laser treatment to kill warts cells, application of external creams and lotions etc. Anyway, recurrences are reported after some time, making it proven that it cannot be cured and removed completely, once contracted. Being such a worse disease and usually transmitted through sexual contact, it is unfortunate to say that you are not assured that you will not transmit the virus to your sex partner. But having a HPV vaccine will help your partner from getting this disease. So, advise your partner, if you sincerely wish to prevent him from getting infected with this. Moreover the vaccine will help him from getting cervical cancer and 4 major types of genital warts for a lifetime. Just 3 shots of vaccine with an interval of 6 months, is capable of offering a lifetime protection. If you had got a medical history of having genital herpes, you should consult your doctor for getting blood tests done to find whether you are seropositive to herpes. If you are, there is a chance of transmitting herpes too, to your sex partners. But using antivirals can help you with this. But the virus can stay dormant in your body without harming you, but contracting the one who comes in sexual contact with you. So, inform your new partner about the situation. Using barrier methods like condoms can help preventing the spread of virus to certain extend.  Inactivity of genital warts or particularly HPVs are related to your body immune mechanism. Even if it stays inactive in your body, you will transmit the virus to the other person who comes intimate to you. So, prevention is better than cure. Hope my answer helps. Take care always.


Dr. John Fuller
Category: Family Physician-GP
Experience: 
MD - New York Institute of Technology, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine
Internship, Family Medicine - Lutheran Medical Center
Residency, Family Medicine - The Mount Sinai Hospital
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