Your immune system is responsible for clearing out the HPV virus within our bodies, but when and how it is cleared depends on the strain and your immune system. Some people may not have completeresolution of an HPV type. It could be that 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 system, such as periods of extreme stress or certain medications like chemotherapy.
It’s 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 won’t get other types of HPV if exposed to them. Regardless of the reason, some people can
have recurrent HPV.
Although our immune system does its best to protect us from HPV exposures, there is still a possibility of transmission if HPV is present. HPV 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.
Condoms and other barrier methods can reduce the possibility of HPV transmission, although they do not provide full protection as HPV can be passed through other skin-to-skin contact. Condoms also protect against other STIs, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV. Using condoms is a good way to reduce the risk of getting STIs. Vaccination is the most effective way to protect ourself against HPV. A decade of using the HPV vaccine in British Columbia has shown that it is both safe and effective. For more information about the HPV vaccine visitwww.immunizebc.ca/hpv
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