HPV is short for human papillomavirus, and it’s a common STI (sexually transmitted infection). Once you contract the virus, your body usually fights it off naturally. However, if you don’t get treated in time and your body fails to fight the HPV virus, it may stay with you for life. The CDC estimates that around half of all people who contract HPV will get rid of the virus on their own within one or two years. Some people take much longer than that to clear the virus from their bodies. In some cases, however, the HPV virus can come back after it has cleared your system. Once the virus comes back again, it’s called recurrent HPV. This article explains whether or not this can happen after your body clears the initial infection and what actions you need to take if this happens to you.
Can HPV Come Back Once It Has Cleared?
Unfortunately, yes, HPV can come back after it clears. In fact, about 30% of women who cleared HPV infection will have it come back at some point in the future. This is because HPV is particularly difficult to treat and cure.
What Can Cause Recurrent HPV?
You have the same strain of HPV as before
The most common reason why you will have recurrent HPV is because you have the same strain of HPV as before. If this is the case, your immune system will not be able to fight off the virus. Although it’s unlikely for this to happen, it’s important that you get tested for new strains of HPV every year to make sure that your immune system is strong enough to fight off new strains.
You have a different strain of HPV than before
The second most common reason why you will have recurrent HPV is because you contracted a different strain of HPV than before. If this is the case, your immune system will still be able to fight off the virus, but it may take longer than usual to do so. Even though this should not be an issue since your immune system should be strong enough to do so, if it takes too long or doesn’t work at all, it could leadok as well as you’d like in this case, you may want to talk to your doctor about what options you have.
You have a new type of HPV that has not been seen before
The third most common reason why you will have recurrent HPV is because you contracted a new type of HPV that has not been seen before. If this is the case, the virus may be able to survive longer in your body than usual and it may take longer than usual for your immune system to fight it off. This is because the virus can be quite hardy and resistant to being fought off by your immune system. Your doctor will probably want to run some tests on your blood and/or urine samples to make sure that there are no other viruses or bacteria causing any problems for your body which could cause these issues. ane at all, it can put your health at risk.
You have a weak immune system and the virus gets stronger
The third most common reason why you will have recurrent HPV is because you have a weak immune system, even if you did not contract any new strains of HPV. When this is the case, the virus may get stronger over time and become more difficult to get rid of. This is why it’s important to stay on top of maintaining a healthy diet and doing regular exercise to keep your immune system strong.
You were exposed to the virus again
If you contracted the same strain of HPV as before but were exposed again to the virus, it will be more difficult for your immune system to fight off the virus this time around, since it will already have been fighting off that strain of HPV once before. ane at all after the initial infection, you could get another dose of HPV.
You have a different strain of HPV than before, but you didn’t clear it
The third most common reason why people will have recurrent HPV is because they had the same strain of HPV as before, but they didn’t clear it in time or their immune system was not strong enough to fight off the virus. If this is the case, you could get a new dose of the same strain of HPV again or a different strain altogether. Luckily, if your immune system was not strong enough to fight off the first strain of HPV, it should be able to fight off the second and subsequent strains as well.
How Do You Know If HPV Has Come Back?
- You notice a change in your cervical mucus. It may be thicker, less stretchy, and more difficult to open. If you have had HPV, you may notice these changes sooner than women who do not have the virus.
- You notice a change in your vaginal discharge. It may be thinner, clearer, or more like semen. If you have had HPV, you may notice these changes sooner than women who do not have the virus.
- You notice a change in your genital area or genital symptoms, such as pain with sexual intercourse or itching and irritation of the penis or vulva during sexual intercourse. If you have had HPV, you may notice these changes sooner than women who do not have the virus; many people who have had an HPV infection never experience these symptoms again even if they become infected with another strain of HPV later on in life.
- Your doctor can test for antibodies to determine if you already have been exposed to the virus and are currently immune to it.
- If you have had HPV, you could be exposed to it again at some point in the future. You may not have any symptoms right away or notice anything unusual at all. It is possible that your body will build up antibodies against the virus, but it is also possible that you could get infected again with a different strain of HPV at some point in the future.
- If you have had an infection with HPV and are now immune to it, then you cannot get cervical cancer from HPV infection again; however, if you ever do become pregnant and your immune system is not strong enough to fight off the infection, the baby may be born with a weakened immune system and may be more susceptible to future infections with other types of viruses or bacteria that can cause meningitis or pneumonia.
Things To Know About Recurrent HPV
- HPV infection is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus can infect the external genitalia, anus, and mouth.
- There are more than 100 types of HPV. Some types cause warts and some cause cancer. About 40 of these types cause most cervical cancers, but only three types are known to cause most cases of genital warts.
- Some people may not have any symptoms, but most people will get infected at some point in their lives by HPV. Most people who get infected will never develop symptoms or problems from it.
HPV is a very common infection, and you may contract it at some point in your life, especially if you’re sexually active. If you’ve had an HPV infection, you’ll likely test positive for HPV antibodies after your body finishes fighting it off. You can then retest within a couple of months to see if you’re still positive. If you’ve cleared the virus from your body, it won’t come back unless you’re diagnosed with recurrent HPV.