A service provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control
Is HPV warts just treatable? Or is it cureable? Does your body rid of the virus eventually?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common virus. In fact, it’s the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are over 100 types of HPV. About 40 of them can affect the anal and genital region and are sexually transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. There are now vaccines that protect against themore common HPV types. Without the HPV vaccine, most sexually active people will get one or more types of HPV in their lifetime. For the majority of people, the virus will clear the body on its own without causing symptoms or problems. For those who do get symptoms (like genital warts), most of these will eventually go away. While most HPV types are harmless and go unnoticed, some types of HPV can affect the body if they persist.

Most – but not all – people will show no sign of genital warts within an average of two years; some will resolve sooner, some will take longer. There is still ongoing research into the reasons behind this. If you have warts that do not go away after two years, talk to your health care provider about a referral to a gynecologist ordermatologist. Removing genital warts is mostly for aesthetic purposes and does not treat HPV. Removing the warts is often successful, but warts may return again in the future. Removal of the warts does not get rid of the HPV virus itself or prevent warts from coming back. Some people may not have complete resolution of an HPV type. it could bethat the type is dormant or “sleeping” in their body, but reawakens at some point. This sometimes happens when the body is under more stress that affects the immune sytem such as periods of extreme stress or certain medications like chemotherapy. It is also possible that a person may resolve the type completely,but then get it again at a future date. It's also very possible that someone could be infected with a different HPV type if they are exposed to it. Having one type of HPV does not mean you wont get other types of HPV if exposed to them. Regardless of the reason, some people can have recurrent HPV. 

HPV is passed through skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity. This includes any kind of sexual contact with the anal and genital regions, including genitals rubbing together, penetrative sex (vaginal or anal intercourse), oral sex, sharing sex toys, and hands on genitals. HPV may still be present even if there are no visible warts or when the warts are gone. Since HPV is so common that most people acquire it sooner or later, it is not realistic to avoid it. There is no need to stop having sex even if warts or other signs of HPV are present, or are being treated. Wearing condoms can help to reduce, but not eliminate the chances of passing HPV from one partner to another.

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This answer was posted on July 9, 2019
This answer was updated on July 12, 2019

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