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Recently answered questions

Aura Eden Ilagan Asks:

Good Day! i had my last vaccine of HPV last Oct. 23, 2010 and i want to get pregnant this February. will that be safe for me and my baby?

 

Congratulations on getting all three doses of the cervical cancer vaccine. Getting all three doses helps you to get the maximum benefit from the vaccine.  Getting pregnant after receiving the vaccine is safe. The vaccine has not been shown to  affect a fetus.    So you should be fine getting pregnant after receiving the 3 dose series.

Laura Asks:

Since my high risk (pre-cancerous) HPV has cleared up, can I pass it on to my new boyfriend? We have not had sex yet, I want to know the facts before I tell him and do anything with him.

You are asking a question that is on the minds of a lot of women. I applaud you for thinking about your health and that of your partner. Talking with your partner about your HPV infection is an important step. You both need to be involved in the decision about how your relationship will proceed.  Some facts to consider when you are talking with your partner are: transmission can occur outside intercourse and condoms can help minimize transmission (but not completely), most HPV infections will clear up on their own and the experts now think that it isn’t  transmitted when the  virus is dormant, and maintain your regular check-ups with your healthcare provider so that you’ll be aware of any changes in your HPV status.

CS Asks:

I HAD MY 1ST SHOT IN AUGUST, AND I TOTALLY FORGOT TO GO BACK AND GET MY SECOND SHOT. THEREFORE IM WELL OVERDUE, IS THE 1ST SHOT STILL EFFECTIVE?

Not everyone gets their HPV shots according to the recommended schedule.   The first shot gives you some protection, but not as much as when you have all three shots. There does not appear to be a reduced effectiveness in those who get the 2nd and 3rd doses at a later time.  Call your doctor’s office to reschedule as soon as possible.

lea Asks:

I had my 1st and 2nd injection of Gardasil..is it ok if my 3rd injection is Cervarix? My doctor doesn't have a stock of Gardasil.

The Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends continuing the 3-shot series with the vaccine with which you first started.  However, it is permissible to finish with the other vaccine when the first one isn’t  available or is unknown. You should get the same level of protection.

Linda Asks:

I am married. My husband and I both have HPV. I have the HPV CIN 2 Moderate Severe type. Is it safe for us to still have sex with a condom on? What do married couples do about sex when they have this? Can I get re-infected or will the virus just die out, being that we both are monogamous. Thanks.

Chances are that you and your husband have the same HPV types. There's a lot we don't know about HPV, but most experts think that the same type of HPV virus doesn't 'ping-pong' back and forth between the same partners. In other words, you are not likely to reinfect each other with the same HPV type.   If the HPV type that you have clears on its own and becomes dormant,  it is unlikely that you will pass on the virus while it’s dormant. Condom usage can reduce your risk of HPV transmission. Please also raise these questions with your healthcare provider. He or she is in the best position to give you personal medical advice.

Sally Asks:

I have learned I have HPV after going to the doctor due to an outbreak, which turned out to be genital warts. Do I have to treat the warts or will they go away over time? Do the warts cause my infection to spread further? Please help.

Certain HPV types can cause warts, others can cause precancerous changes elsewhere in the genital tract. The type that causes warts won’t cause cervical cancer.  Many outbreaks of genital warts are self-limiting and will go away without treatment.  When the warts persist, they often need treatment. Please talk to your healthcare provider about the best treatment for you. 

Katelyn Asks:

I got diagnosed with low grade hpv with pre cancerous cells. I got the leep 6 months ago and it came back. Now I am a smoker but I'm only 17 and take a multivitamin. Shouldn't my being so young still kick the hpv?

A female 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 the HPV 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. It would be a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider about your questions, as well. He/she is in the best position to advise you. Also ask about getting vaccinated.

ashley Asks:

If i have HPV but don't have warts and neither does my boyfriend. will I for sure get them? Or do only some people?

There are over 100 different types of HPV viruses.  Some cause warts, some can cause cervical cancer if not treated. But the same type does not cause both warts and cervical cancer.  If neither you nor your boyfriend have genital warts now and you do not have sex with anyone else, you are not likely to get that type of HPV. 

Allyson Asks:

How quickly can you develop HPV if sexually active with someone who has it? If you were to go to the gynecologist and get an abnormal pap smear is it possible for it to show up in a few months? Or would it take a few years?

Thanks for your time!

It can take as little as a month or two for HPV to show up after exposure. Or it can take longer. It is also possible for a newly detected infection to be a reactivation of an old HPV infection. Generally, HPV infections grow slowly. The important thing to do when you know you’ve been exposed to HPV is to keep a schedule of regular check-ups with your healthcare provider. That way you can stay on top of any infection and not let it become cancerous. 

A. Pierson Asks:

Is it true that a conventional PAP/ThinPrep test will NOT diagnose cervical adenocarcinoma since this cancer originates in the cervical glands and a sample of cells is only taken from the endocervical outer layer during the test?

Thank you for your assistance!

Chances for a false negative Pap test is higher for adenocarcinoma than for standard squamous lesions.  This is due to a number of issues, including the likelihood sampling is less adequate due to these lesions often being further up in the cervical canal and thus harder to reach and collect. It does not mean that a Pap test never diagnoses adenocarcinoma, however. It is important for women to see their healthcare provider every year for an annual check up and to get regular Pap tests and HPV tests as recommended.

 

julie Asks:

I'm due for my 2nd shot of HPV. However, I still have a cold and cough.  Is it okay to continue with my scheduled shot? thanks

There is no contraindication to getting your HPV shot because you have a cold.  But we all know that colds and infections are tough on the immune system and our bodies.  Just to make it easier on yourself, you might consider delaying your second shot a few weeks so you can get the shot when your immune system is not fighting any infections. Bottom line: it’s slightly better to wait until the cold is over, but it is okay to get the shot even if you have a cold.

steph Asks:

I have recently visited the doctor to get my first shot.   This month I'm going to get the second dose. I have had unprotected sex, but he pulled out before anything. Am  Istill exposed...and will the shot still help me prevent HPV???

The vaccines give the best protection if they are given before you have any sexual  contact . Since you have had the first shot, you should already have some protection against certain types of HPV infection. However, you will have less protection than if you have had all three shots before you engaged in sexual activity.  You may or may not already be infected. HPV is spread very easily. It can be spread even without intercourse and it is often spread in the first several sexual encounters.  You should plan to get the second and third shots on schedule.  They will offer you still more prevention protection against HPV infection than you have with just the one shot. Good luck to you.

selena Asks:

I am 44 years old. Would it be beneficial to take the vaccine? If so, which shall I take, Gardasil or Cervarix? Or, it offers no protection since I am of this age group?

In many countries, including the United States, the vaccine is not approved for use in all age groups.  Generally, the age cap is over 26 years of age. The studies to see if it works in women in the over 26 age groups are ongoing.  As more data becomes available, these recommendations might change.  You should discuss your individual risks and benefits for use of an HPV vaccine outside of recommendations with your healthcare provider. He or she can also advise you on which vaccine to get.

Lisa Asks:

I have had a wart on my foot for several years now. I didn't know that plantars was caused by a strain of HPV until after I received the Gardasil treatment. Will the vaccine still work?

There are about 100 different types of HPV that cause different diseases.  Some cause plantar warts like you have. Some HPV types cause different types of warts that affect the genitals. These are called genital warts. Other types of HPV cause cervical cancer. The HPV or Cervical Cancer Vaccines, Gardasil© and Cervarix©, protect against certain types of HPV, not all types of HPV. The vaccine that you have had,  Gardasil©, protects against 4 types of HPV: 16 and 18 that cause 70% of cervical cancer and 6 and 11 that cause about 90% of genital warts. Gardasil© does not protect against plantar warts. So, your vaccination does not affect your plantar warts. However, if you haven’t been exposed previously to HPV types 16 or 18 or 11 or 6, the vaccine will provide you protection against these types.

smiley Asks:

I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma when I was pregnant. I had a hysterectomy after delivery. I am HPV neg. Everyone always asked if they should get the shot & would it have helped me? Am I correct in saying that it would not have helped me, that it prevents HPV or did I understand wrong. It was a stressful time.

You are right in saying that the HPV or Cervical Cancer Vaccines are designed to prevent HPV infection, not to treat infections that have already occurred.  Therefore, getting the vaccine after you’d already been diagnosed with adenocarcinoma would not have helped you with that infection. However, if you are in the age group eligible for the vaccine (9-26 in the US) and you haven’t been exposed to all the types of HPV that the vaccines protect against, then you might have gotten protection against additional cervical infections. These are questions to ask your doctor about.  Good luck to you and remember to keep your regular appointments.

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