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Recurrence of genital warts after years

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Hello doc, I am in a frustrated situation that my girlfriend got infected with genital warts. I don’t know whether she is a cheater or the problem is with me. Let me explain the full issue. I was diagnosed of having genital warts about 5 years ago. At that time, I used a cream as per the prescription of my doctor and the warts disappeared within a week or two. After that I was fully cured and no other warts appeared after that. After 2 years from that incident, I started a new affair with a girl. We were sexually active and used to have unprotected sex at times. We were so attracted each other and were supposed to have no other sex partner for the time being. But to my surprise, she started getting genital warts recently. She consulted her doctor and managed to get them removed. But the problem is that, I am sure that my infection is gone by this time. Then how can she get infected without having sex with anyone else who has got genital warts. That makes me think that she is a cheater. I haven’t discussed this with her. I need an assurance about this, from you before having any further talk about this, with her. Please help me with this. Also, is there a chance that I will become contagious again? Thanks for your time.

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Category: Family Physician-GP
 21 Doctors Online

Thanks for your question. First of all, let me tell something in detail about genital warts. It is caused by a viral infection due to Human Papilloma Virus. There are about 70+ types of infections found till date. This virus is notorious of its dormant actions. It can stay dormant inside the body of an infected person, for years without showing any symptoms. They cause genital warts or cervical cancer (in females) according to the type of virus infected. This is one of the most common types of sexually transmitted infection found in people from 17 to 33 years of age. They cause warts which look like the shape of a cauliflower with small bumps. They can be treated medically using creams, laser treatment, surgical excision, cryotherapy etc. according to the spread and reach of the infection. After treatment or even without treatment, the warts tend to go away in a reasonable period. But the infected person will not be cured and will stay as a carrier of the virus. Being an infection which can be transmitted from skin to skin contact, even protected sex with barrier methods like condoms cannot help in preventing the spreading, unless the warts are in the shaft of penis. From your question, it is evident that she is likely to be infected with HPV from sexual contact with you. People once infected will become carriers of HPV unknowingly for the lifetime. Unfortunately, a complete cure is not possible to treat HPV. That makes you contagious even after 5 years. From now, even your partner has also become a carrier of the virus. But the bodily immune system will prevent the virus from causing warts or other symptoms. Hope my answer helps. Take care.

Dr. Cecelia J. Russ
Category: Family Physician-GP
- Medical School - New York Institute of Technology, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Duke University Medical Center, Residency in Family Medicine
Dr. Cecelia J. Russ and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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