HPV Reinfection

Last Modified: September 25, 2005

Share article


Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I was recently diagnosed with stage IB1 adenocarcinoma of the cervix. I received treatment and everything is clean. I am very frustrated that there are no tests to see if my husband still has HPV, as well as information stating that condoms may not be effective in preventing transmission. Can I be reinfected with HPV and have a recurrence even if we use condoms? What about without condoms?

Answer

Christina S. Chu, MD, Assistant Professor of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

You have asked some difficult but common questions. The HPV virus may be controlled or cleared by the body's immune system over time. You and your husband likely share the same type (or strain) of HPV, and new warts or lesions are usually thought to be a reactivation of a previously suppressed infection, rather than new reinfection. While condom use appears to protect the areas that are covered, skin that is not covered by the condom, like the labia and the scrotum, are still susceptible to infection. Currently, we do not recommend that patients use condoms after the diagnosis of cervical cancer in the setting of a long term monogamous relationship, because mutual exposure has already occurred.


News
FDA Experts Debate Timing of Pap Test

Mar 13, 2014 - A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel is considering whether to delay the Pap test and use a human papillomavirus (HPV) test as a first step in cervical cancer screening. Specifically, the agency's Medical Devices Advisory Committee Microbiology Panel is being asked to evaluate the cobas HPV test made by Roche Molecular Systems.



I Wish You Knew

How cancer patients have changed my life

View More



Blogs and Web Chats

OncoLink Blogs give our readers a chance to react to and comment on key cancer news topics and provides a forum for OncoLink Experts and readers to share opinions and learn from each other.




OncoLink OncoPilot

Facing a new cancer diagnosis or changing the course of your current treatment? Let our cancer nurses help you through!

Learn More