Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
Q: I've been recently diagnosed with cervical dysplasia and was told after
asking, that I have HPV. My son's FORMER girlfriend has the same diagnosis.
Do my husband and son need to be tested? My son is concerned about infecting
a future partner? We are confused!
Dr. Donnica: This is a very difficult issue and I'm afraid that
there is no medical consensus about the "right" answer here. We do
know that HPV (human papilloma virus) is sexually transmitted and that regular
condom use will reduce transmission (although not 100%).
There are currently no tests readily available which adequately detect HPV
in men who have absolutely no symptoms or signs of infection. The diagnosis
of HPV in men is usually made by the visualization of external genital warts
or by the assumption that they are "infected" if a long-term sexual
partner of theirs is infected. There is also no treatment or "cure"
for HPV itself, only for the symptoms of HPV infection. In the case of you and
your husband, we also don't know if further unprotected intercourse between
you will affect your level of being infected; most doctors would agree that
you should have more frequent Pap smears, but otherwise don't need to practice
"safe sex" with your husband. In your son's case, he may want to consult
his physician to see if testing at this point is worthwhile. Most doctors would
probably recommend that he use condoms with any current or future sexual partners
unless he plans to become a father. In that case, he and his partner at that
time will need to have a frank discussion with their doctor about the level
of risk involved and what kind of testing can be offered to each of them.
Created: 4/17/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.