I have recently been diagnosed with Genital Warts, I have been more than devastated.  I have been doing non-stop research ever since and hope a doctor can clear a few things up.

On this forum Dr. Handsfield says that once warts are gone you can begin to behave like a normal person again.   My dermatoligist says that once you hit 2 years without a breakout that the HPV has been reduced to such a small level its insignificant.  What is true here, I would hate nothing more than to mess up someones life like mine has been.

Few more questions:
1) Let's say I get to the 2 year mark without a breakout, does whatever strain of HPV I carry always result in warts or is that purely random and most people will never know they have it?

2)  What are the chances that I just stop getting breakouts, do most people just get them forever?

3) Do I need to take a bunch of crazy precautions to not accidentily infect friends and family?

15 Responses
1067212 tn?1353960402
After 6 months - 2 years without any symptoms, 90% of people never go on to experience warts again or pass the virus on. Therefore as the risk is so low to keep having outbreaks, Drs advise after that time to live normally.

1) Some people with the same strain as you will never have symptoms and never know they have the virus. I think the majority of people don't show symptoms of the virus but some do.

2) Something like 70% do not experience symptoms again after 6 months of showing no symptoms. After 2 years of no symptoms, 90% never show symptoms again. 10% struggle for a little longer, or show symptoms years later out of the blue.

3) No not at all. It is usually only passed on through penetrative vaginal/anal sex. Rarely it is passed through oral sex or genital to genital rubbing. It is not passed through kissing, touching, baths etc.
Avatar universal
I have a follow up question if you would be so kind.   I am pretty confident I know who gave this to me, I had not had contact with anyone else within a year of her.   Do females not get checked for HPV regularly? How would she not know she has it?  Or is it only visible warts that the doctors detect so if she was one of the many that do not show symptoms she would have never known.
1067212 tn?1353960402
For the low risk strain that causes warts, it is not generally 'tested' for as only recently have there been tests made available (i.e. the blood test). Usually when it comes to warts, they are only diagnosed visually, so unless she had symptoms she may not of realised she had it, or she may of had it in the past and thought she had built immunity fom the virus and no longer was contagious
1067212 tn?1353960402
Also I think the blood test is only for high risk strains, it is also known to be unreliable at times
1306047 tn?1333243591
Another thing to consider is the stigma that is attached to HPV, a stigma that you buy into heavily and one that is misplaced or flat out wrong.  Take a moment to step back from the specific culture you may have grown up in that makes you feel so bad for getting some warts.  I feel I am one to talk as I also had a super stigma meltdown and all the associated thoughts that go with it.  Over time I began to see HPV for what it is, a transient skin condition that happens to prefer the genital skin cell type.  It's super common, over half of sexually active adults will get it in their lifetime (some will never know it as you're research has shown), there are no known health risks from genital warts as far as I know, and it's no big deal all in all.  So you got some HPV.  Join the club of millions, no, tens of millions.  You'll be fine and this'll all be over soon.  My infection lasted exactly one year and by 18 months I had gone six months without anymore outbreaks and now it's been over two years since my last outbreak.  It'll happen to you too.

I just say all this stuff because I hate to think of you suffering needless mental anguish that you don't need to go through.  The correct perspective will help you immensely.  good luck
Avatar universal
Vandykd3 - I really appreciate your perspective, its opinions like yours that take me off the proverbial ledge or depression about this.  It will still be a pretty long year before I can live a somewhat normal life and begin dating again.

Just to clarify, you got outbreaks for 12 months? Is that the normal time period?

If I were to meet someone else with HPV, would I be extending my infectious period since we could have different strains?   As a male, there is no way to find out if I have a high or low risk strain is there?

Thanks again, you are helping me out immensely!  

1306047 tn?1333243591
My infection was the text book length of time.  My last out break was a year to the week of my first. I immediately got them removed as usual and never had another.  

There are many strains of HPV out there, both low-risk and high-risk.  The chances of encountering someone with the same strain as you are hard to predict.  Some strains are more prevalent than others.  Remember, many many men have transient high-risk HPV infections.  They just never know it.  You may have had it already and not known it.  I'm pretty sure I did.  If you get your warts biopsied you can discover the strain but many doctors aren't into doing that.  What's the point anyway if it's one kind or another.  The person you meet certainly won't know.  

The other thing is this. Your dating life is not over for a year or more.  That's catastrophic thinking.  Get up to date on the fact of warts so that you can think and talk about it without it being as if the sky has fallen.  You got unlucky as millions do and got a transient skin condition.  If you where a condom and watch the foreplay between breakouts, the chances of you transmitting are quite low.  Don't be afraid to inform your partner about it if you meet someone.  All they can do is say no to the sex.  Don't buy into the stigma.  It's not the same as HIV or even herpes.  Herpes isn't even that bad when you really think about it, but it's worse than HPV.  

Anyway.  Just remember to be cool about it.  It's all good.  No big deal. Just a little bump in the road no pun intended.  
Avatar universal
I see your points and they are valid.  From what I read, condoms do not do a very effective job of protection.   I would personally find it very tough to tell a person I have HPV, despite the statistics that we most have it anyway.   Dating will be tough knowing that once it starts going well you need to drop the HPV disclosure on them.    

Where do you think the best source of information is?  Dr Handsfield on here seems pretty knowledgable but information is so inconsistent.  Like I said, you are keeping me optimistic, so I appreciate it.  
1067212 tn?1353960402
Vandykd3 has it all covered.. but just to add, condoms do lower the risk of passing the virus on by a large amount. Something like 70-80%, team that with having intercourse when warts are not present, you lower your chances even more of transmition. It is always difficult having that conversation, and so many people post on here with worries about it. The truth is, some people don't know enough about HPV to understand how common, harmless and ordinary it is so they run when they hear about it (not to scare you, just being honest) but there is a large majority that are open and accepting about it, and willing to learn more about it. Once they learn more, there seems to be no problem. If you go through this site I'm sure you'll find many stories which go either way. Personally, I would wait until I had gotten close to someone before telling them. That way the emotional bond is there with some sort of trust and loyalty, so they are more likely to be understanding.

Also, being diagnosed is always devastating at first, it's only human nature to have that sort of reaction about something that is so taboo. If it wasn't such a taboo subject then you would probably find that the majority of people you know have either had an STD before or had some sort of brush with it, and if it were more openly spoken about, the reaction wouldn't be devastation. It doesn't feel like it now but I assure you in time, once the worst is over which will be very soon, you will start feeling better about the whole situation, and it will stop being a big deal to you. You can only really know that unless you've been through it, so stay strong.
1306047 tn?1333243591
Amie635 is right.  Take it from some folks who've been around.  

I might add that I'm thinking condoms aren't 100% effective because some people aren't careful during foreplay and might rub their stuff before the condom goes on.  Then there is the base of the condom where you can get warts on the part that's not covered. I'd say the chances of getting warts on the part that's covered are zero if not zero. Just my two cents though.  

Bro, I gotta tell you I've been there.  I melted down so so f'ing hard.  I hated myself, I couldn't sleep, I thought my life had ended.  that's why I diatribe against that behavior now.  I'm educated now and so far on the other side that I can't be bothered by the stigma any more.  I know people who are in polyamorous relationships where they sleep with scads of people in the course of a year.  She said they just take it as a given that they've all got HPV. It's all the other STDs they worry about.  Just stay strong and keep your chin up.  I wish I'd been able to do that.  You've got the benefit of our experiences to help fast track you to the cool mentality.  
Avatar universal
Hey -

You are very optimistic and I am having a tough couple weeks coping with this thing.  I have paid to ask doctors questions and have had a few on going conversations with people one here.   Some people are very negative some are not.   I know you just think its a minor skin condition but I just cannot bring myself to accept the doctor's advice on here to just go around after not showing symptoms for 3 months as if I have nothing.   Let's say I do get in a serious relationship and you want to get to the point where you stop using protection, won't you give someone what you have?  One of the two strains of HPV that show warts are the high risk strains right?  You could end up killing someone with cervical cancer.   Sorry, just struggling recently and you previously had calmed me down a little bit.
Avatar universal
Any medical forum (such as this) will have an array of stories, most being atypical. As stated above, the majority of people will not transmit the virus after being cleared of warts for 6 months.

Let's say I do get in a serious relationship and you want to get to the point where you stop using protection, won't you give someone what you have?

- Nobody knows.  A small percentage of people will, others won't. There is no clear answer to this question I'm afraid, regardless of what you read on the internet. If I was you, I would not inform future partners if I had been clear of warts for 2 years. Others will disagree, but you're the one who'll have to make that decision. If you think you've found the "one", be my guest and tell her. If anyone leaves you just because of sex they can just be forgotten.

One of the two strains of HPV that show warts are the high risk strains right?

- Strains 6 & 11 cause 90% of genital warts which are low-strain. Warts do not cause cervical cancer. Most people get HPV & the vast majority clear it before any abnormal PAP appears. Any future partner should be having yearly PAPs anyway.

You could end up killing someone with cervical cancer.

- You're worrying way too much. Men who carry high-risk HPV won't know about it as there is no available test for them.

Worrying isn't going to resolve anything. Just get your warts removed & continue with your life as normal. The chances are you won't ever get a recurrence after 2 years & you won't pass the virus onto any future partners, like the majority of people.
1067212 tn?1353960402
Also cervical cancer is a rare outcome of having high risk HPV and on average takes 10-15 years to evolve. In that time, most women maintain anual PAPs in which cell changes which can lead to cancer are detected and treated if need be. Yes cervical cancer can come from a high risk HPV, however it is rare and usually only happens if PAPs are not attended. When we hear 'cancer' we jump tp conlusions and think of the worst scenario, but when you think within the statistics and realistically you see that it is much less likely to happen than you think.

Also you can tell people if that makes you feel comfortable. A large amount do not pass the virus on within 6 months of having no symptoms, however if it were me I would probably still inform people until the statistics grew. After 2 years 90% do not spread the virus again, so that is when I would put it in the past and not give such information (whilst still having protected sex just incase). In saying that, if you are worried you can still tell people after 2 years and I guess that would weed out the people who really like you or not.

From your post you are looking at it from the negative side, looking at the worst possible scenario rather than the most likely. The reason I think doctors play this virus down is because in reality things could be a hundred times worse.
Avatar universal
hey vandy,

I'm really happy for you, but I have to say I continue to despair and be crushed by this. It's been 2 years and 6 months and i still get outbreaks.  I don't know what to say about being in this 10% club, but it really has messed up my life now.  It changes your perspective when you realize that 70% never show symptoms and clear it unknowingly - but not me, that 90% of that 30% seem to clear the virus & symptoms between 6 months to 2 years.  Where's the comfort in that.  I do feel like my dating life is over, and I'm getting depressed to the point that I can't function.
Avatar universal
hey vandy,

I'm really happy for you, but I have to say I continue to despair and be crushed by this. It's been 2 years and 6 months and i still get outbreaks.  I don't know what to say about being in this 10% club, but it really has messed up my life now. 70% of people never show symptoms - but I do.  90% percent of 30% clear symptoms with 6 months to 2years - but not me. Had a couple show up as recently as 3 weeks ago.  I don't know dude.  Being an outlier in an unlucky situation is just to much for me to handle sometimes.  It's getting to the point where I just can't function sometimes.  Losing motivation to work, even live, I know that is catastrophic thinking, but it seems like the worst case scenario is a reality, I need somebody to set me straight.

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