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Angela asks:

I was just diagnosed with HPV and have been in a relationship for 2 1/2 years. Can I keep having sex with my partner?  Did he give it to me?  Can I give it back to him if he gave it to me?

You ask a question that a lot of people have asked. Chances are that your partner has the same HPV types that you have since you're in a long term relationship. There's a lot we don't know about HPV, but most experts think that the HPV virus doesn't 'ping-pong' back and forth between the same partners. Condoms do offer some protection against HPV transmission, as well as other sexually transmitted infections. But HPV can be spread through genital contact and that contact can occur outside of the area covered by a condom. So condoms don't offer complete portection against HPV, but they might offer you some peace of mind. 

HPV is a very common infection. But because it can be undetected in your body for years, it is hard to say who may have given it to you. Most HPV will be attached by your body's immune system and cleared up on its own, usually within a year or maybe two. But some HPV types hang around for a long time before they start causing trouble.  Thus, it is hard to know how long you've had the HPV and who gave it to you. Don't jump to conclusions.

Your best bet is to talk to your health care provider and ask these same questions. The two of you and perhaps your partner can have a discussion about the best course for you to take.

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