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HPV can hide for 16 years?

crselby's picture
Posts: 441
Joined: Oct 2009

I've been on the Breast Cancer boards since October 2009 after surgery for it in July of that year. Because I'm taking Tamoxifen, I sought out a gyn instead of continuing to use my family practitioner anymore. The annual pap that she did showed HPV. None of my other paps ever showed that. Ever. Annually. So, my question is, where did it come from.

Although my husband had a 2 year affair 16 years ago, he swears he has been faithful since then. He came out of it a changed man, the kind we would all want; it was an eye opener for him. So after a year of separation, which was the second year of his affair, we got back together.

My gyn tried to say that the virus can hang around for years and reappear anytime my immune system is low. I know it was not at its tops when I was going through radiation and all with the breast cancer. But I've never been diagnosed with it before.

Maybe it wasn't tested for routinely 16 years ago? And it's been under the immune system radar since then? And cropped up just around the time I had cancer treatments (no chemo)? Or has he been with someone else and infected me? What do you think?

kansasgal's picture
Posts: 125
Joined: Aug 2009

A friend and her husband have been faithful to each other ever since they started dating in 1966. She was diagnosed 2 years ago with HPV. She has had excellent health care for many years including annual PAP exams. She has also been in great health until a little over 2 years ago when first she had influenza, then a cold that lingered for a really long time, then pneumonia. Up until the flu hit her, she was running 5 miles a day and had done that for more than 20 years.

She is well now and has resumed her running routine. The HPV showed up for the first time EVER just as she was recovering from the pneumonia. Go figure. The gynecologist to whom her PCP referred her following the HPV diagnosis told her it was not unusual for HPV to lie dormant for many, many years and only surface when the immune system was badly compromised. Also, many more conditions are tested for these days than in the past.

I'm usually on the uterine cancer board, but I look at this board most weekends.

I hope you are able to lay the HPV worry to rest.


beckyracn's picture
Posts: 324
Joined: May 2009

I agree. HPV can is a virus that can lie dormant for many years until the body's immune system breaks down. Then it rears it's ugly head.

Posts: 55
Joined: May 2010

I have been doing some research about HPV I found out the HPV doesnt have to come from sex but it is the most common. Also a women can get HPV from having sex with just two men ever. If a man slept with a woman and she had HPV and she was using the cream to fight off the infection thier is a chemical that weaken the comdon's defense. HPV is soooo common the a women will get it at least one time in her life and may never know she ever had it. It can go just a quick as it came.Sometimes the body immune systems just fight it off. Sometimes like they said it just lay around waiting for that moment it could rear its ugly head. They only way to never get HPV is to never have sex at all. I am just happy that they have a shot for the younger girls to fight against this.

Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2009

I have had HPV (probably type 16 or 18) for in excess of 25+yrs. The advice that is posted here is absolutely correct. Additionally I work in a busy teaching hospital here in the UK. The Human Papillomavirus is a ninja! My Consultant Oncologist, who is considered an authority on this subject, tells me that 98% of women are infected with this virus. A robust immune system keeps it at bay usually but as other contributors have said, should the immune system be compromised then it will surface.
May I suggest you follow this link and listen to Professor Margaret Stanley.


It is an excellent talk about HPV and current research.

I wish you all well and take care.


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