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When should I test for HPV after vulnerable sex?

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Dear doctor, I am a 35 years old female. I am married about 13 years from now and have got two children. Recently I found some discoloration in my genital skin. When I discussed this with one of my friends, she told that it might be genital warts caused by HPV infection. Is it true? I haven’t had sex with anyone except my husband. Is he to be doubted? If he has got HPV infection, is there a chance that our children too got this infection? When should I do a test to confirm whether it is HPV or not? Should I ask my husband to check for this? What are the treatment options? Please help.

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Category: Family Physician-GP
 30 Doctors Online

Thanks for your concern. HPV or human Papilloma Virus is the causative organism behind genital warts. Warts look like small bumps and have a structure resembling the shape of cauliflower. But the discoloration you have seen might be due to some other things also. A pap smear test done as per the suggestion of your doctor will help in ruling out the possibility of HPV infection. Warts are also associated with benign skin conditions. Moreover, HPV infections have some other worse qualities like dormancy. They can stay dormant in some people, where there will be no visible symptoms like warts. Still they will act as carriers of virus and transmit it to others who they come in sexual contact with. Another issue regarding HPV virus is that it will not take much time from contracting with the virus and the infected person himself changes to a carrier. But it need not be detectable in tests so easily, at the starting periods of infection. So, the only way to prevent infection is by getting Gardasil vaccine, which offers a lifetime protection from most common types of HPV infection. Permanent cure is not yet available but treatment of warts can be done by methods like cryotherapy, electrodessication, laser therapy etc. And the good part is that it is unlikely to transmit the virus to babies by birth, from an infected mother. Being an infection, it can be affected by skin to skin contact from mother to child. Hope I have answered your query well. 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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