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Avatar universal

Concern regarding my Ex and exposure to STDs, particulary HPV

Hello Doctors,
I recently separated from my partner of 2 years and learned that he had 2 other sexual partners besides myself. He said he practiced safe sex with them and he and I last had unprotected sex on November 20th. I was tested for  gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and herpes this past Monday December 2nd, but I am still concerned about HPV. I recall the only way to test for this is a PAP smear and am wondering in how long I should get that done? 3 months? 6 months? I also wondered if I allowed enough time for the gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and herpes tests.
I will also get tested for HIV in 6 months as well.
Thank you for any insight you can provide!
7 Responses
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Welcome back to the forum.

My advice is that you not worry at all about catching HPV.  As a person with what I assume is a pretty active sex life over the years (based on several discussions on MedHelp forums), you can assume you have been infected with genital HPV, probably a few times, and may well be infected again in the future.

The way to prevent problems with HPV are 1) be immunized with Gardasil, the vaccine that effectively prevents infection with the 4 HPV strains that cause most cancer and warts (although the vaccine is only recommended up to age 26); and 2) have regular pap smears.  Aside from those things, there is nothing you can do to prevent infection or its problems.  Even consistent condom use doesn't prevent HPV.  Fortunately, most HPV infections clear up on their own and never cause any important health problem in either infected persons or their sex partners.

For those reasons, testing for HPV is not recommended except as part of pap smear testing.  And even then, HPV may be present despite a negative test.  So just plan on having your regular pap smears as recommended by your doctor.  (For most women these days, that's a pap smear every 3 years -- regardless of new partners or other STD risks.)  And if you're age 26 or less, talk to your doctor about the HPV vaccine.  Other than that, don't worry about it.

I hope this has helped.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
And by the way, there is no need to wait 6 months for an accurate HIV test.  Defititive results are available these days 4-6 weeks after the last possible exposure.  See the threads linked below for more discussion about HIV test timing.

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/show/1704700
http://www.medhelp.org/posts/show/1891685
Avatar universal
Thank you Doctor Handsfield - I'm wondering if I allowed enough time for the gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and herpes tests? I tested 11 days after the last time my Ex and I had sex and my Doctor recommended testing again in 3 months.
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
The gonorrhea and chlamydia test results will be valid and you won't need retesting at 3 months.  However, your doctor is correct about the blood tests.  It takes 6 weeks for the syphilis blood test and about 3 months for herpes to be valid.  However, I recommend against herpes testing, unless you have symptoms that suggest herpes or if you know for sure your ex partner has genital herpes. The HSV blood test results are not entirely accurate and often give misleading results, especially when the risk of herpes is low.  Just scan this forum to see lots of discussions with people who had problems with herpes testing.
Avatar universal
Thank you Doctor, my Ex does not have genital herpes and used a condom with the 2 women he slept with in addition to me, so it seems the risk is fairly low - do you agree?
You always have the most detailed and helpful information, thank you for your help!
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
I agree:  the risk of herpes in this situation is extremely low.  Not to worry!
Avatar universal
Thank you Doctor!

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