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Questions from July 2010

April Asks:

Can the HPV DNA test detect dormant HPV? One year I was negative and the next year I was positive. Thanks

The change in your HPV diagnosis is likely due to one of two reasons.  Either you have a new HPV type, or there has been a reactivation of an HPV type that you had previously.  Non-specific HPV tests (the kind of HPV test you most likely had) cannot determine which HPV type you have; nor can your provider determine this.

J Asks:

Can smoking increase your chances of getting cervical cancer if you have hpv?

A woman who smokes has a higher chance of getting cervical cancer. Research has shown that the cervix is affected by the nicotine in cigarettes in much the same way as the lungs.  It is also known that cigarettes can impair the immune system’s ability to fight infection.  So if you have HPV, you should definitely think about quitting. It will help you prevent that HPV infection from developing to the stage of cancer.

linda Asks:

Is possible to get HPV from oral sex?

The answer to your question is currently unknown. While researchers are gathering new information about HPV every year, the question of whether or not oral sex transmits HPV is currently not very well-understood.

ali Asks:

If my body will clear the virus off in time, will all types of HPV go away, or are certain types more persistent than others?

Some types of HPV tend to be more persistent than others.  In particular, some of the cancer-causing types are less likely to be cleared naturally.  That is why you still need to get regular screening as recommended by your provider.  This is also one of the reasons why the vaccines are recommended, to prevent at least 2 of the types that tend to stick around, HPV types 16 and 18.

Koel Sen Asks:

Am 23 years old.Recently I developed Genital Warts that I am treating.My query is-since I have already got Genital Warts should I be taking a vaccine(Gardasil)against both, cancer and warts or Cervarix that prevents only cancer? Will a vaccine against some strains of warts prevent them from recurring?

There are two vaccines to prevent getting certain types of HPV.  Cervarix protects against two HPV types that prevent infection by 2 HPV strains that cause 70% of cervical cancer cases. Gardasil protects against 4 types of HPV including 2 strains that cause genital warts plus the same 2 strains that cause most of the cases of cervical cancer. But if you already have the HPV, the vaccine does not clear the virus and getting the vaccine will not be very effective for you. Please talk to your healthcare provider about this question. Together you can decide whether getting vaccinated is right for you and if so, which vaccine you should have.

Dr.Meenal Thakare Asks:

i have taken 3 doses of HPV vaccine at 0,1 and 6 months. how much should be the gap between my last vaccine dose and planning pregnancy. will the raised antibody titres affect my pregnancy outcome if i plan immidiately in the very next month of last vaccine dose?

Good for you for getting all three doses of the cervical cancer vaccine. It is extremely important to finish all three doses to obtain the maximum benefit.  Getting pregnant now after receiving the vaccine should not give you any concerns. The vaccine is considered a class B drug regarding teratogenicity (possibility of affecting a fetus).  This means it is very safe and in the clinical trial data and pregnancy registry since approval of Gardasil, it is clear this is a safe drug and likely does not affect a fetus.  So all of this equates to the conclusion that you do not have to wait to delay getting pregnant after the 3 dose series.

Confused Asks:

I was just diagnosed with mild dysplasia CIN I. I am engaged.  Is it ok to have unprotected sex and try getting pregnant?

An HPV infection rarely leads to cervical cancer. In most women infected with HPV, the cells in the cervix return to normal after the body’s immune system destroys the HPV infection. However, some HPV infections do not go away and may remain present in the cervical cells for years. It is the long-standing infection that can lead to changes in the cells that can progress to cancer. Getting pregnant when you have HPV is okay.  The HPV infection presents a very little risk to the infant.


bhavana Asks:

Hi! I have taken one shot of the vaccination but wish to discontinue for some personal reasons. Can I do that or does it have any repercussions or side effects if you leave the course in between. Thanks

The vaccines are designed to be given in 3 doses to get the most protection against future HPV infections. If you miss the recommended time for the second or third dose, get the next dose as soon as convenient. You will likely still get all or most of the same protection that you would have gotten had you followed the recommended schedule. But if you do not get the second or third dose ever, then you will not get the full protection against HPV. You will have some protection but less than is recommended.

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